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Journal of Ophthalmology
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 686587, 5 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/686587
Review Article

Low-Cost and Readily Available Tissue Carriers for the Boston Keratoprosthesis: A Review of Possibilities

Cornea & Refractive Surgery Service, Massachusetts Eye & Ear Infirmary, Department of Ophthalmology, Harvard Medical School, 243 Charles Street, Boston, MA 02114, USA

Received 1 August 2013; Accepted 8 October 2013

Academic Editor: Shivalingappa K. Swamynathan

Copyright © 2013 Andrea Cruzat et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

The Boston keratoprosthesis (B-KPro), currently the most commonly used artificial cornea worldwide, can provide rapid visual rehabilitation for eyes with severe corneal opacities not suitable for standard corneal transplantation. However, the B-KPro presently needs a corneal graft as a tissue carrier. Although corneal allograft tissue is readily available in the United States and other developed countries with established eye banks, the worldwide need vastly exceeds supply. Therefore, a simple, safe, and inexpensive alternative to corneal allografts is desirable for the developing world. We are currently exploring reasonable alternative options such as corneal autografts, xenografts, noncorneal autologous tissues, and laboratory-made tissue constructs, as well as modifications to corneal allografts, such as deep-freezing, glycerol-dehydration, gamma irradiation, and cross-linking. These alternative tissue carriers for the B-KPro are discussed with special regard to safety, practicality, and cost for the developing world.