Cornea preservation time study: methods and potential impact on the cornea donor pool in the United States

Cornea. 2015 Jun;34(6):601-8. doi: 10.1097/ICO.0000000000000417.


Purpose: The aim of this study was to describe the aims, methods, donor and recipient cohort characteristics, and potential impact of the Cornea Preservation Time Study (CPTS).

Methods: The CPTS is a randomized clinical trial conducted at 40 clinical sites (70 surgeons) designed to assess the effect of donor cornea preservation time (PT) on graft survival 3 years after Descemet stripping automated endothelial keratoplasty (DSAEK). Eyes undergoing surgery for Fuchs endothelial corneal dystrophy or pseudophakic/aphakic corneal edema were randomized to receive donor corneas stored ≤7 days or 8 to 14 days. Donor and patient characteristics, tissue preparation and surgical parameters, recipient and donor corneal stroma clarity, central corneal thickness, intraocular pressure, complications, and a reading center-determined central endothelial cell density were collected. Surveys were conducted to evaluate pre-CPTS PT practices.

Results: The 1330 CPTS donors were: 49% >60 years old, 27% diabetic, had a median eye bank-determined screening endothelial cell density of 2688 cells/mm, and 74% eye bank prepared for DSAEK. A total of 1090 recipients (1330 eyes including 240 bilateral cases) had: median age of 70 years, were 60% female, 90% white, 18% diabetic, 52% phakic, and 94% had Fuchs endothelial corneal dystrophy. Before the CPTS, 19 eye banks provided PT data on 20,852 corneas domestically placed for DSAEK in 2010 to 2011; 96% were preserved ≤7 days. Of 305 American Academy of Ophthalmology members responding to a pre-CPTS survey, 233 (76%) set their maximum PT preference at 8 days or less.

Conclusions: The CPTS will increase understanding of factors related to DSAEK success and, if noninferiority of longer PT is shown, will have great potential to extend the available pool of endothelial keratoplasty donors.Clinical Trial Registration-URL: Unique identifier: NCT01537393.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cell Count
  • Child
  • Corneal Edema / physiopathology
  • Corneal Edema / surgery
  • Corneal Pachymetry
  • Cryopreservation / methods*
  • Descemet Membrane*
  • Descemet Stripping Endothelial Keratoplasty / statistics & numerical data*
  • Endothelium, Corneal*
  • Eye Banks / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Fuchs' Endothelial Dystrophy / physiopathology
  • Fuchs' Endothelial Dystrophy / surgery
  • Graft Survival / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Intraocular Pressure / physiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Organ Preservation / methods*
  • Time Factors
  • Tissue Donors / statistics & numerical data*
  • Transplant Recipients
  • United States

Associated data