Purpose: To evaluate endothelial cell damage after eye bank preparation and passage through 1 of 2 different injectors for Descemet membrane endothelial keratoplasty grafts.
Methods: Eighteen Descemet membrane endothelial keratoplasty grafts were prepared by Lions VisionGift with the standard partial prepeel technique and placement of an S-stamp for orientation. The grafts were randomly assigned to injection with either a glass-modified Jones tube injector (Gunther Weiss Scientific Glass) or a closed-system intraocular lens injector (Viscoject 2.2; Medicel). After injection, the grafts were stained with the vital fluorescent dye Calcein AM and digitally imaged. The percentage of cell loss was calculated by measuring the area of nonfluorescent pixels and dividing it by the total graft area pixels.
Results: Grafts injected using the modified Jones tube injector had an overall cell loss of 27% ± 5% [95% confidence interval, 21%-35%]. Grafts injected using the closed-system intraocular lens injector had a cell loss of 32% ± 8% (95% confidence interval, 21%-45%). This difference was not statistically significant (P = 0.3). Several damage patterns including damage due to S-stamp placement were observed, but they did not correlate with injector type.
Conclusions: In this in vitro study, there was no difference in the cell loss associated with the injector method. Grafts in both groups sustained significant cell loss and displayed evidence of graft preparation and S-stamp placement. Improvement in graft preparation and injection methods may improve cell retention.