Professor Gerard Sutton, a corneal and refractive surgery specialist at Sydney Eye Hospital and the medical director of the Lions NSW Eye Bank, said corneas are now stored in a culture that keeps them near body temperature, preventing the damage that quickly occurs with cold storage.
“In 2005, the waiting time for a corneal transplant in NSW was two years. With the introduction of this technology we can now schedule patients for corneal transplantation within three months,” said Prof. Sutton.
“Through the higher temperature used in organ culture, metabolism of the cells are maintained and provide the corneal tissue with a complex mixture of amino acids and growth factor which enables it to repair damaged cells and maintain its normal function.
In cold storage, low temperatures and the presence of antibiotics can make it difficult to detect any bacteria that may be present in the tissue…
“In cold storage, low temperatures and the presence of antibiotics can make it difficult to detect any bacteria that may be present in the tissue, as most bacteria will not grow under these conditions,” he said.
With increased ability to detect microbial contaminants and extending the time from death to storage, Organ Culture Storage offers a larger donor pool for transplantation.