For Immediate Release
Alabama Eye Bank (AEB) President and CEO Doyce Williams has been appointed to serve on the Cornea Preservation Time Study (CPTS) Advisory Committee. The committee will examine the potential for extending the time that corneal surgery can be performed from the current seven days up to 14 after a cornea is recovered from a donor.
The study has been awarded $12.3 million, the largest grant of its kind from the National Eye Institute. According to Dr. Jonathan Lass, chairman of the Case Western Reserve Department of Ophthalmology, the study will collaborate with Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and the Jaeb Center for Health Research in Tampa, FL.
When a cornea (clear, front part of the eye) is recovered from a donor, a surgeon will transplant it in a recipient within seven days, which has historically been considered the optimum period for transplant. The study is designed to determine whether delaying surgery from 8 to 14 days would impact the quality of the cornea compared to the seven-day period.
“The study will analyze data from 1,300 patients. The implications are tremendous for distributing corneas outside the United States because it is currently believed that performing surgery beyond one week does not ensure the cornea will maintain its highest level of quality. A much greater opportunity for distribution would occur if the study affirms no difference in quality if surgery is performed up to one week later,” Williams said.
The supply of donated corneas nationwide meets current needs – about 40,000 transplants in 2010. But with an aging population and health concerns about the future donor pool, researchers want to ensure the supply can meet an expected growth in demand over the next two to three decades.
Williams, an adjunct instructor for the UAB Department of Ophthalmology, has served as president of AEB for more than 32 years. During this time, the eye bank has ranked each year among the top 10 eye banks in the U.S. in the number of corneas procured, rising as high as second.
A charter member of the Eye Bank Association of America, AEB is a nonprofit charitable organization that was founded in 1969. The Eye Bank’s headquarters is located in Birmingham with regional offices in Huntsville, Mobile and Montgomery. The Eye Bank’s objective is to obtain quality human eye tissue and distribute it to qualified physicians where the need exists anywhere in the world. AEB serves 49 states and 43 countries.
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