Corneal Transplantation: Back to the Future

You don’t need a flux capacitor or plutonium to check out the timeline of corneal care

Corneal transplantation has long been a vital procedure for restoring vision in individuals suffering from corneal diseases and injuries. In recent years, remarkable advancements in medical science and technology have paved the way for a promising future in treating corneal blindness across the globe, with improved surgical techniques and innovative alternatives to achieve vision restoration. I am so excited about this month’s edition of Corneal Physician, where the focus is on all aspects of corneal transplantation surgery, eye banking, and various corneal surgical techniques.

“I Got a Time Machine!”

Just like in one of my favorite movies, “Back to the Future,” Corneal Physician this month will take you on a ride to the past of corneal transplant surgery, return you the present, and finally wrap up with the future in corneal surgery. To explore the past, one of the world’s foremost authoritative figures on the history of cornea surgery and a perfect impersonator for Doc Brown and his time machine, Dr. Mark Mannis, provides us with an impressive historical lesson on corneal transplantation in “Keeping Tabs on Keratoplasty,” (p.12).

No cornea transplant surgeon can be successful without an amazing eye banking system to provide quality donor corneal tissue. In “Examining What’s New in Eye Banking,” Dr. Chris Ketcherside, a cornea specialist from Kansas City Eye Clinic, in Overland Park, Kansas, discusses exciting new developments with corneal tissue procurement, controversies with eye bank operations, and surgical innovations that may change the landscape of corneal replacement in the future.

“Roads? Where We’re Going, We Don’t Need Roads”

In “Research Article Spotlight,” Dr. C. Drew Salisbury, corneal specialist from Premier Medical Group, in Mobile, Alabama, discusses his groundbreaking research that changed eye banking globally. In fact, his technology has now been mandated by eye banks across the world to reduce the risk of infection with corneal transplantation.

In regard to corneal transplant techniques, Dr. Woodford Van Meter, professor and head of the cornea service at the University of Kentucky, describes the evolution of lamellar eye surgery and elaborates on the lamellar cornea transplant techniques of anterior lamellar keratoplasty and endothelial keratoplasty. Specifically, in “The Evolution of Selective Keratoplasty Techniques” (p. 24.), he also provides a brief overview of the statistical reporting of the various corneal surgeries performed in the United States.

In “Performing Penetrating Keratoplasty Remains Essential” (p.18), Dr. Tyler C. Goff, cornea specialist at Gulf South Eye Associates, in Metairie, Louisiana, discusses the art of penetrating keratoplasty, and illustrates why it will never be completely replaced by lamellar surgical techniques. Meanwhile, Dr. Hans W. Andrews, corneal specialist at Eye Consultants of Atlanta, a multi-location practice, in Georgia, talks about implementing various corneal surgical techniques on corneal dystrophies. His article provides case-based examples of how to treat corneal dystrophies in various surgical scenarios.

Finally, in “Considering Contact Lens Wear to Prevent Surgery” (p.21), Dr. Angela A. Verkade, assistant professor at the University of Michigan Kellogg Eye Center, in Ann Arbor, reveals the various types of contact lenses that can be used in various clinical scenarios to avoid keratoplasty techniques. She provides a superb overview of contact lenses for corneal disease.

“I Have to Tell You About The Future!”

If you perform corneal transplants, I think this month’s Corneal Physician will be particularly exciting for you to read. Hopefully, you can imagine riding in a DeLorean, as you visit the past and fly toward the future of where corneal surgery and transplant techniques will take us in our attempt to erase corneal blindness. CP