Research and training
Research and training have also received a boost. For example, KeraLink is supplying the corneal tissue for a phase I/II investigation of corneal collagen crosslinking using a UV light source on a donor cornea that will serve as a carrier for a keratoprosthesis.
“We’re doing this because the patients who need this procedure are at risk of losing their eye,” Furlong said. “We want to be the place their ophthalmologists turn to obtain the tissue required to save their sight.”
In line with its role as an international organization, KeraLink has launched a program in Bangladesh, where an estimated 500,000 people are waiting for corneal transplants.
KeraLink has joined with a Bangladeshi medical volunteer group, called Sandhani, as well as Rotary International and local Rotary clubs to address the gap between the local tissue supply and demand. Hundreds of Sandhani medical students have volunteered to be trained to obtain consents and recover corneas. This will result in a substantial increase in the number of procedures that can be performed in Bangladesh using locally sourced tissue, from about 60 per year to several thousand each year, Furlong said.