Irradiated corneal tissues have been used for a variety of ophthalmic procedures including glaucoma drainage device covers and lamellar grafts. The maintenance of corneal clarity is important, as light obstructions resulting from processing or long-term storage of irradiated corneas may negatively affect vision and postoperative cosmesis. It has been reported that corneal tissues can be preserved in human serum albumin (HSA), however, the clarity of corneas after long-term storage in HSA has not been well described. Furthermore, the use of donor-pooled serum increases the risk for transmission of blood-borne diseases and may induce an immune response in the recipient. Here, we examined changes in corneal clarity due to electron-beam (e-beam) irradiation and storage in a recombinant human serum albumin (rHSA). Dark-field microscopy was employed to examine the light scattering effects of fresh and irradiated corneas. Compared to measurements taken prior to tissue preparation and e-beam treatment, irradiated corneas showed an average 2.6% increase in light scattering (P = 0.002). Irradiated corneas stored in rHSA at room-temperature for 20 months showed an average increase of 11.6% light scattering compared to fresh corneas (P ≪ 0.01), but did not negatively affect the visualization of printed text, and were deemed suitable for transplant use. Therefore, the slight increase in cornea light scattering, and resulting reduction in corneal clarity, after e-beam treatment and long-term storage in rHSA may not be clinically significant. These results suggest that e-beam sterilized corneal grafts may be used as an alternative to fresh tissue for certain ophthalmic applications.
Corneal clarity Stromal light scattering Long-term preserved cornea Electron-beam sterilized cornea Recombinant human serum albumin Halo sterile cornea
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The authors thank Joshua Galloway and Kelly Odell of Lions VisionGift for processing the tissues used in this study.
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