Purpose: To determine if the lamellar cut of donor tissue for endothelial keratoplasty (EK) by an eye bank facility is associated with a change in the prevalence of positive bacterial or fungal donor rim cultures after corneal transplantation.
Methods: A retrospective review was conducted of bacterial and fungal cultures of donor rims used for corneal transplantation at a tertiary eye care center from January 1, 2003, to December 31, 2008, with tissue provided by a single eye bank. The cases were divided into 2 groups. Group 1 ("no-cut") included keratoplasty procedures in which a lamellar cut was not performed. Group 2 ("precut") included EK procedures in which a 4-hour period of prewarming of tissue followed by a lamellar cut was performed in the eye bank before tissue delivery to the operating surgeon.
Results: There were 351 donor rim cultures in group 1 and 278 in group 2. Bacterial cultures were positive in 30 donor rims (8.5%) in group 1 and 13 (4.7%) in group 2 (P = 0.058). Positive bacterial cultures were not associated with any postoperative infections. Fungal cultures were positive in 8 donor rims (2.3%) in group 1 and 7 (2.5%) in group 2 (P = 1.0). Positive fungal cultures were associated with 2 cases (13.3%) of postoperative fungal infections.
Conclusions: Corneal donor tissue can be precut for EK by trained eye bank personnel without an increased risk of bacterial or fungal contamination.