I just returned from the annual meeting of the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons (ASCRS). One of my favorite parts of the meeting is the Innovator Session, where cutting edge research from around the world is presented. In this issue, I will share some of these exciting developments with you.
An Update From ASCRS
The Charles D. Kelman Innovator’s Lecture is named for the physician who created the original phacoemulsification machine; this device is the basis of modern cataract surgery. This year the lecture was given by an outstanding Japanese ophthalmologist, Shigeru Kinoshita, MD, PhD. The talk was titled “Novel Treatment Dimensions for Corneal Endothelial Dysfunction”.
The cornea is the clear window on the front of the eye. The light must pass through the cornea and the lens before focusing on the retina in the back of the eye. On the back layer of the cornea there are endothelial cells. The job of these cells is to pump water out of the cornea, thus maintaining its clarity. If there are not enough cells, the cornea becomes cloudy. Currently, the only way to replace corneal endothelial cells is with a surgery called a corneal transplant.
Dr. Kinoshita has developed a growth media for corneal endothelial cells in the lab that allows him to reproduce these cells. He has injected these reproduced cells into the eyes of human subjects, and the cloudy corneas became completely clear. He can reproduce enough cells from one donor cornea to treat 199 patients with cloudy corneas who would otherwise require a corneal transplant.
This represents an amazing development in the treatment of patients with Fuch’s Dystrophy and other conditions causing corneal blindness. I look forward to the technology being introduced in the US.
Source: ASCRS Innovator’s Session, April 20, 2015
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