Friday, July 26, 2013

New Cornea Transplant Technique Provides Improved Vision, Faster Recovery

Loyola Offering First Instructional Course in Chicago

MAYWOOD, Ill. - A new cornea transplant technique called DMEK provides significantly improved vision and faster recovery from surgery than standard cornea transplants.
On Saturday, July 27, Chicago-area ophthalmologists will learn about the technique in a hands-on demonstration.

Media are invited to cover the demonstration, which begins at 10:30 a.m. at Loyola’s Stritch School of Medicine, 2160 S. First Ave., Maywood.

Fourteen ophthalmologists will practice the technique on cadaver eyes donated by the Illinois Eye Bank. It will be the first Chicago-area DMEK demonstration of its kind.

The DMEK instruction course is an example of how ophthalmologists from Loyola and other Chicago-area centers frequently collaborate on educational, research and other projects that will improve patient care, said Charles Bouchard, MD, chair of Loyola’s Department of Ophthalmology.

The cornea is the clear outer lens on the front of the eye. In a cornea transplant, also called a keratoplasty, part of the defective cornea is replaced with corneal tissue from a deceased donor.

DMEK stands for Descemet Membrane Endothelial Keratoplasty. In a DMEK, only the innermost corneal layer (the Descemet membrane) is replaced, rather than the entire thickness of the cornea. This reduces the chance of a patient rejecting the donor cornea tissue because there is much less foreign donor material implanted into the patient.  The procedure is best for patients who have problems only with the back layer of the cornea.

With the current standard of care of replacing the back layer of the cornea, patients are typically restored to a best corrected vision of 20/30 or 20/40. With DMEK, patients can typically obtain a vision of 20/20 or 20/25. They also recover from surgery more quickly, said Amy Lin, MD, a Loyola ophthalmologist and cornea transplant specialist.

The demonstration will occur in Loyola’s Advanced Procedure Education Center (APEC), a state-of-the art facility that serves the surgical-skills training needs of students, residents, fellows and practicing physicians. APEC is part of the Center for Simulation Education at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.

Saturday’s DMEK instructional course will include instructional talks from 8 to 10 a.m. and a demonstration and hands-on session from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The course will be taught by DMEK experts Kenneth M. Goins, MD, of the University of Iowa; Mark Terry, MD, of the Devers Eye Institute in Portland, Ore.; and Gregory Schmidt, a University of Iowa eye bank technician.


About Loyola University Health System

Loyola University Health System (LUHS) is a member of Trinity Health. Based in the western suburbs of Chicago, LUHS is a quaternary care system that includes Loyola University Medical Center (LUMC), located on a 61-acre campus in Maywood, Gottlieb Memorial Hospital (GMH), on a 36-acre campus in Melrose Park, and convenient locations offering primary and specialty care services throughout Cook, Will and DuPage counties. At the heart of LUMC is a 547-licensed-bed hospital that houses the Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine, the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, a Level 1 trauma center, a burn center, a children's hospital, Loyola Outpatient Center, and Loyola Oral Health Center. The campus also is home to Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, Loyola University Chicago Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing and the Loyola Center for Fitness. The GMH campus includes a 254-licensed-bed community hospital, a Professional Office Building with 150 private practice clinics, an adult day care program, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, the Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park.

Trinity Health is one of the largest multi-institutional Catholic health care delivery systems in the nation. It serves people and communities in 22 states from coast to coast with 93 hospitals, and 120 continuing care locations — including home care, hospice, PACE and senior living facilities — that provide nearly 2.5 million visits annually.