Health Watch — The Eyes Have It: Cornea Donation

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications  and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.

This week on Health Watch, we’re talking about advances in eye care. Cornea transplants offer the gift of sight to many, but there’s a shortage of donated corneas available. New research has found that the donor pool can be widened.

Dr. Dwight Cavanaugh, an ophthalmologist and transplant expert at UT Southwestern Medical Center, says a nationwide study found that corneas from donors up to age 75 work just as well as those from younger donors. The important factor is the number of cells alive in the tissue. With the Baby Boom generation aging, more cornea transplants may be necessary, and there’s already a waiting list for donated corneas. Broadening the range of potential donors might make sight-saving surgery available for more people. Corneas don’t require the kind of tissue-matching many other transplants require, and corneas can be used even from people who have vision problems, as long as the corneas are healthy.

Visit to learn more about UT Southwestern’s clinical services in eyes (ophthalmology). 


April 2008

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