Penetrating keratoplasty has become one of the most successful and the most common transplant procedures in the United States, with 35 930 corneas grafted in 1987.1 One-year survival with graft clarity is greater than 80% and is more than 90% under certain conditions.2 While generally not a life-saving procedure, keratoplasty offers an opportunity for notable improvement in the quality of life for its recipients.
From the onset of the modern era in Europe during the 1930s,3 improved diagnostic and surgical techniques have expanded the utility and demand for keratoplasty. The early reports from Elschnig and Filatov detailed their experience with corneal leukomas due to burns or trauma.3 Today, the leading indication for penetrating keratoplasty is pseudophakic bullous keratopathy.4 As newer procedures and indications develop, the demand for donor tissue will only increase.2,5
In 1985, a shortage of 3500 to 5000 corneas existed in the
Lee PP, Stark WJ, Yang JC. Cornea Donation Laws in the United States. Arch Ophthalmol. 1989;107(11):1585-1589. doi:10.1001/archopht.1989.01070020663024