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Outreach Programs
Pediatric Corneal Transplantation

Many infants born with eye defects face a life of blindness due to lack of insurance or funding, and access to qualified corneal specialists willing to take on the challenge. Without surgical intervention, corneal opacities caused by congenital defects will permanently prevent vision from developing and these children will face a life of blindness. Our outreach efforts act as a safety net for the most needy, children born with severe corneal defects.

To date, we have performed corneal transplants on over 100 babies from around the world and have provided expensive anti-rejection medication for needy families without medical insurance. In addition to surgical intervention, our foundation sponsors international conferences to educate physicians on how to treat these infants.
By supporting our transplant program you can provide surgical intervention for the many innocent children who will suffer from unnecessary blindness.

Presently, the only known way to prevent blindness in children with these conditions is with a corneal transplant or keratoprosthesis, artificial corneal transplant. Corneal transplants in children are quite complex, and produce a low success rate. The tissues of babies are very fragile, resulting in a larger inflammatory response, which causes a much higher failure rate of transplanted corneas. In most instances, the success rate is less than 10 percent; in 5 percent of cases, the eyes are completely lost. Few surgeons are willing to take on this challenging procedure because of the complex nature of the surgery and the low success rate. The Eye Defects Research Foundation firmly believes these children deserve the opportunity for vision to develop.

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Artificial Corneal Transplantation Keratoprosthesis

Children with genetic causes of anterior segment disease and corneal blindness often have lack of stem cells that are needed to support a normal healthy cornea. Even a successful transplantation of a human cornea is not likely to last in such an environment because there are no stem cells to support a healthy cornea, and children go blind again. Artificial cornea, aka keratoprosthesis, can survive in a harsh environment and allow children to develop vision even with significant genetic abnormalities. The polymer core of an artificial cornea does not need live cell support but does require constant care and antibiotic treatment. Short of developing stem cell technologies, keratoprosthesis provides children another choice of treatment to

save vision and allows them to lead a normal life. Future research into the transplantation of stem cells may allow the children to have a normal corneal transplant and maintain vision throughout life.

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Advances in Pediatric Corneal Transplants

Artificial Corneal Transplant
Learn about Pediatric Keratoprosthesis
Pediatric Artificial Corneal Transplantation more

Success Stories

Arizona boy receives the gift of sight.
"Dr. Rabinowitz and The Eye Defects Research Foundation have been one of Dylan's angels here on earth, a blessing to our lives."- Cristina Cruz

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Help in a Time
of Crisis

U.S. Multi-National Forces

The Eye Defects Research Foundation partners with the U.S. Multi-National Forces to deliver the Gift of Sight

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Ground-breaking Articifial Pediatric Corneal Transplant Funding

The foundation funds a ground-breaking artificial pediatric corneal transplant with the generosity of James Aquavella, M.D., The Alcon Foundation, The University of Rochester Medical Center, Tissue Banks International and Claes Dohlman, M.D.

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