Samsung Medical Center said Tuesday that it has started artificial keratoplasty, also known artificial cornea transplant surgery, with a team led by Professor Jung Tae-young.
Artificial cornea, manufactured from transparent materials such as glass or plastic, has the same abilities as an actual cornea. Doctors conduct the surgery by attaching the artificial cornea and the peripheral cornea received by the donor to the patient's eye.
The advantage of the artificial cornea is it works for people who have had several cornea donor transplants. In general, corneal transplantation is likely to fail more and more if the patient receives numerous surgeries.
The academia has confirmed that when conducting a full thickness cornea transplant on patients, who have failed corneal transplantation from donors, only 47 percent of the patients have surgical benefits for up to five years. However, for the artificial cornea, the share of people who retain operation benefits is much higher at 75 percent.
The artificial cornea can also be advantageous as it is transparent even if the peripheral portion of the cornea is opaque.
Therefore, Professor Jung’s team is conducting artificial corneal transplants for patients who have to receive repeated reoperation for corneal transplantation or who are expected to have significantly lower corneal survival rates when transplanting donated corneas.
“The surgery is difficult to spread widely because there is no formal import procedure in Korea,” Jung said. “However, it is the last chance for frustrated patients who have failed corneal transplantation several times.”
The research team will further refine the relevant techniques and continue to work on research so that patients can continue to hope for vision recovery, he added.