Preloaded donor corneal lenticules in a new validated 3D printed smart storage glide for Descemet stripping automated endothelial keratoplasty

Br J Ophthalmol. 2015 Oct;99(10):1388-95. doi: 10.1136/bjophthalmol-2014-306510. Epub 2015 Apr 29.


Purpose: To design and validate the efficacy of three-dimensional (3D) printed smart storage glide (SSG) which is capable of preserving and delivering posterior lenticules for Descemet stripping automated endothelial keratoplasty (DSAEK).

Methods: Laboratory investigation (A) was followed by clinical validation (B). Unsuitable corneas for transplantation (n=20) were used for study A. These tissues were cut using a standard microkeratome, punched and loaded into the SSG and preserved for 7 days in transport media. Endothelial cell density (ECD), Trypan blue and Alizarin red staining for endothelial morphology, thickness measurements and glucose uptake, cell apoptosis and immunostaining post preservation were analysed. For study B, clinical grade corneas (n=14) were preloaded in SSG and grafted in patients with indications of Fuchs' dystrophy (n=8), pseudophakic bullous keratopathy (n=3), posterior polymorphous dystrophy (n=2), and previous DSAEK failure (n=1). Standard DSAEK included descemetorhexis under air and bimanual delivery of the tissue under infusion of buffered saline solution through an anterior chamber maintainer placed at the 12 o'clock position. Main outcome measures for study B were less surgical time, best spectacle-corrected visual acuity (BSCVA), speed of visual recovery, and ECD.

Results: For study A, an average ECD loss was 2.30±3.21%, thickness increased by 30.80±20.85% and one-third of glucose was utilised during the preservation phase. Alizarin red showed hexagonality of the cells. Cell apoptosis was not observed and expression of ZO-1 was noted on the preserved tissues. In study B, 25% ECD loss was observed after 6 months. BSCVA improved to 20/25 or better within 3 months after DSAEK. Mean surgical time recorded was 21 min.

Conclusions: This paper describes the development, design, laboratory and clinical validation of a 3D printed SSG which helps to store and deliver posterior lenticules, therefore allowing transportation of quality-controlled precut tissues.

Keywords: Cornea; Treatment Surgery.

Publication types

  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Cadaver
  • Descemet Membrane / anatomy & histology*
  • Descemet Membrane / surgery
  • Descemet Stripping Endothelial Keratoplasty / instrumentation*
  • Equipment Design
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Fuchs' Endothelial Dystrophy / pathology
  • Fuchs' Endothelial Dystrophy / physiopathology
  • Fuchs' Endothelial Dystrophy / surgery*
  • Graft Survival
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Printing, Three-Dimensional*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Refraction, Ocular*
  • Surface Properties
  • Tissue Donors*
  • Visual Acuity*