23 April 2012
Med Sci Monit 2012; 18(5): RA64-72
Background: Transplantology is a quickly developing field of ophthalmology. It currently is able to treat many inherited, degenerative, inflammatory, traumatic, and cancerous diseases. This review outlines recent concepts and methods of treating ocular diseases with tissue and cell grafts. Ocular transplants related to the anterior part of the eye, including the conjunctiva and the cornea, are reviewed in Part 1. Material/Methods: The scientific literature dated from January 2005 to July 2011 was thoroughly searched using Medline and PubMed. Publications dated 2009, 2010, and 2011 were analyzed in detail. Search terms were as follows: auto-, homo-, heterologous transplantation, eyeball, ocular adnexa, anterior segment of the eye, cornea, lamellar keratoplasty, stem cells, cultured cells. Further data were found at the website of the Eye Bank Association of America. Results: Nearly all tissues of the anterior segment of the eye (the conjunctiva, sclera, eye muscles, and cornea) are transplanted. Because of the recent significant progress in the field, cornea transplantation was analyzed in more detail, specifically procedures such as limbus grafts and anterior and posterior lamellar keratoplasty. Indications, advantages, and drawbacks of the transplant techniques were also reviewed. Conclusions: Recent progress in the field of cornea transplants allows treatment at the level of the endothelium and the use of cultured limbal epithelial stem cell grafts. However, compared with previous techniques, modern and multilayered transplant techniques of the cornea require much more expertise and longer training of the surgeon, as well as expensive and technologically advanced equipment. The availability of donor tissue is still the main limitation affecting all transplants. Therefore, cell culturing techniques such as stem cells, as well as artificial cornea projects, seem to be very promising.
Keywords: Eye Diseases - surgery, Anterior Eye Segment - transplantation, Amnion - transplantation, Stem Cell Transplantation
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