The surgery takes just over an hour and patients are usually able to leave the hospital on the same day.
Surgeons at a Abu Dhabi hospital performed a cornea implant for the first UAE implant to restore a patient’s eye – his condition was so advanced that a standard implant from a human donor could not work.
Cleveland Clinic specialists in Abu Dhabi removed the diseased cornea and replaced it with a three-dimensional artificial structure made of titanium backplate, a clear artificial cornea, and a donor tissue ring to help protect it in its place.
“Implant implants are designed for people with advanced eye diseases, and they will not be ready for regular implants. Using artificial cornea means that the body cannot attack or refuse implants. The center remains clear, giving the patient a new window into the world, ”said Dr Samuel Navon, chairman of the department of internal cornea, cornea and refractive disorders at the Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi’s Eye Institute.
Human tissue only surrounds the new, artificial cornea – so, if it is rejected by the body, it will not affect the patient’s restored vision, he said.
Traditional vs artificial
“The cornea is a clear, dome-shaped window that protects the eye and helps focus light. This important part of the eye can be cloudy or damaged by eye disease or injury, resulting in loss of vision and even blindness. To overcome this, corneal implants insert the damaged cornea with tissue from the donor, restoring or improving visual acuity. ”
While the cornea implant from a human donor has been used for several years, Dr. Navon said some patients with severe corneal or ocular surface disease are not a traditional option, as a re-implanted cornea will be overcome by disease quickly or denied, not contributing to improving their condition.
The introduction of artificial network implants, known as keratoprostheses, gives those patients a new hope.
Made of modern materials instead of donor tissue, the prosthetic cornea cannot be affected by covering or rejection. “We offer patients a new cornea that the body cannot resist. Around that, we use human donor tissue that we think is being rejected. However, this does not affect the patient or his or her vision, it is simply a matter of ensuring that the new cornea stays in place, ”explains Dr Navon.
Circumstances that require a patient to be referred for a normal cornea transplant include infection, injury and keratoconus, a condition more common in the Gulf region than many other parts of the world, he added.
“However, when the traditional cornea failed, or if the ocular surface was also damaged, studies have shown better success with a corneal implant,” he said.
Doctors at the hospital expect to do more columns every year. The surgery takes just over an hour and patients are usually able to leave the hospital on the same day. After surgery, regular post-surgery visits are required so that doctors can diagnose potential complications and look at overall eye health.