Posted by: juliegriffey | October 31, 2010

Eyes of the Dead

So how’s that for a creepy title? In honor of Halloween I thought I would explore a topic related to eyes and dead people.

In beginning my research, I asked my husband (an emergency physician) if you could do an eye transplant to which he responded: “do you really think you could connect all of those vessels back there to make that work?”

Me: “Well,  I’m not a doctor – I don’ t know what’s possible.”

Him: “If it were possible to transplant an eye – why do you think researchers are working on inventing robotic eyes?”

Me: “I didn’t know anyone was working on such a thing. So you can’t use the eyes of dead people for anything?”

Him: “Well – they do use the eyes of the dead for corneal transplants….”

Now we are getting somewhere…

A corneal transplant (also known as keratoplasty) is a procedure where corneal tissue is taken from a deceased donor and used to replace the patient’s diseased corneal tissue. There are several reasons why a person might need a corneal transplant: injury, disease, repeated infection, etc..

While most of the 40,000+ (annual) corneal transplants are done as an out-patient procedure – recovery time is still long (up to 12 months) and like with other transplant surgeries, anti-rejection drugs need to be taken so that the patient’s system does not reject the foreign tissue.  In about 10% of cases, the transplant is unsuccessful.

So that’s about as creepy as I can get… Corneal transplants: optical education with a Halloween twist.   Happy Halloween!

References:
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/cornea-transplant/MY00491
http://www.mmf.umn.edu/initiatives/insight/2009/spring/corneal_transplants.cfm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corneal_transplantation

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