For individuals diagnosed with endothelial disease, such as Fuchs’ dystrophy, corneal transplants can be necessary to prevent the eyes’ progressive degeneration and the gradual loss of vision. In the last decade, endothelial keratoplasty (EK) surgery was introduced as a technique to spare most of a patient’s cornea. Unlike a full-thickness corneal transplant, EK replaces only the diseased part of the tissue; however, our eye surgeon, David J. Schanzlin, MD, says that the folding technique used with EK can commonly cause cell damage and/or complications with the transfer of tissue.
To improve the way in which EK can be performed, Dr. Schanzlin and Tom Trozera, PhD of TDAK Medical Inc., in collaboration with several physicians from the University of California-San Diego developed, the EK Injector. Approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, it is the only device designed specifically for storage, transport, and injection of tissue.
“The real unique feature in this is that all the tissue processing is done in the operating room,” says Dr. Schanzlin. “The cornea is loaded into the injector and the doctor merely has to open an entry point and inject this endothelial keratoplasty button into the eye. It saves the patient time, it saves the doctor a lot of time, and ensures that there’s less wasting of tissue because of the doctor folding it incorrectly or other problems that could result.”
Dr. Schanzlin, who is also president of the San Diego Eye Bank®, says, “I am pleased to partner with TDAK and the eye bank to bring this device to surgeons around the country, advancing the ability to perform endothelial transplants. It is very rewarding to bring this innovative technology to market to help improve patients’ outcomes.”
To learn more about endothelial keratoplasty and treatment options for corneal conditions, or to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced eye doctors, please contact Gordon-Weiss-Schanzlin Institute today.