Cornea Transplants: Older Donors OK
Excellent Outcomes Expand Cornea Supply 20%-35%
April 1, 2008 -- Cornea transplants from older donors
work just as well as corneas transplanted from younger donors.
The finding, from a clinical trial involving 43 eye banks, means that
corneas from donors up to age 75 can now be transplanted. This will expand the
donor pool by as much as 20% to 35%, suggests the Cornea Donor Study
Investigator Group, which conducted the study.
More than half of the 33,000 corneas transplanted each year in the U.S. come
from donors over age 60. But doctors have been wary of using corneas from
donors older than age 65.
The study group included 105 eye surgeons from 80 participating sites. In
more than 1,000 cornea transplant patients followed for five years, the
surgeons saw no difference in outcomes between recipients of corneas from
donors younger than 66 and recipients of corneas from donors aged 66 to 75.
In both groups, 86% of patients had successful cornea transplants. There was
no evidence linking donor age to patient outcome, even among patients whose
"Our results indicate that the donor age pool should be expanded to 75
years," the investigators conclude.
The findings appear in the April issue of the journal