An artificial membrane has replaced the corneal endothelium—focus of many failed keratoplasties—in a procedure devised by Boston surgeons.
The silicone rubber membrane has been implanted on 21 occasions with resultant clearing of fluid clouding the cornea, according to Claes H. Dohlman, MD.
The majority of cases treated thus far have repeated graft failures or damaged endothelia that ordinarily would prevent keratoplasty.
At present, the membrane approach should be reserved for such patients, Dr. Dohlman told the American Academy of Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology. However, "the fact that a clear and dehydrated cornea can be achieved in the absence of endothelium obviously has a considerable potential."
Fifteen of the procedures have included both penetrating keratoplasty and implantation of the membrane. In seven others the membrane was placed posterior to the patient's own cornea. (Dr. Dohlman and Stuart I. Brown, MD, also performed the former operation on 50 patients while in