For people with rare eye conditions, blindness is a looming threat that can significantly impact their daily lives, including their ability to work, interact with others, and perform routine activities. While corrective lenses and medication can help manage many eye conditions, some are so severe that only surgery can provide a permanent solution. But even then, surgical intervention is often complicated, risky, and may have limited success rates. However, a breakthrough surgical procedure has emerged in recent years that offers hope for patients with rare eye conditions – the Boston Keratoprosthesis (KPro). In this article, eye expert Gibran Khurshid, MD, explores what KPro is and how it is restoring patient vision.
What Is KPro And How Does It Work?
The Boston Keratoprosthesis (KPro) is a surgical procedure first developed by Dr. Claes Dohlman in the 1960s to treat severe corneal blindness. It is a small, artificial cornea prosthesis implanted into the patient’s eye to replace the damaged or diseased cornea. This is the first-ever keratoprosthesis that the FDA has approved. Unlike traditional cornea transplant surgeries, the Boston KPro does not require a donor cornea to succeed. The KPro is made of medical-grade plastic and is held in place by natural tissue surrounding the eye. According to Dr. Gibran Khurshid, the main advantage of the KPro is that it bypasses the damaged cornea and allows light to enter the eye through a clear visual pathway, thus restoring vision.
Who Is A Good Candidate For KPro Surgery?
KPro is a groundbreaking solution specifically developed for patients with severe corneal blindness. This condition can be caused by various factors such as autoimmune diseases, chemical burns, infections, or traumatic injuries. It is intended for those individuals who have exhausted all conventional treatment options without success. One group that particularly benefits from KPro is patients who have experienced corneal transplant failure. With its unique design and advanced technology, KPro provides a lasting and permanent solution to corneal blindness, restoring vision and improving the quality of life for these individuals.
The Benefits Of KPro
The benefits of the KPro procedure are significant for many patients. For example, in a recent study of patients who received KPro, researchers found that the patients experienced an improvement in their visual acuity and a reduction in the frequency of infections or ulcerations. Patients with KPro can also wear contact lenses, improving their visual acuity even further. Overall, the KPro procedure gives many patients hope to improve their vision and quality of life.
The Risks Of KPro
As with any surgical procedure, there are risks involved with KPro. Some potential risks associated with KPro include infection, inflammation, and scarring around the implant. Additionally, patients who receive KPro may experience complications such as the implant becoming dislocated or the eye becoming inflamed. Thus, it is important for patients to fully understand the risks associated with KPro before undergoing the procedure.
What Is The Success Rate Of The Procedure?
The procedure’s success rate largely depends on the patient’s condition and the surgeon’s expertise. In general, the procedure’s success rate is high, over 80%, with many patients reporting a significant improvement in their vision.
KPro Success Stories
KPro has significantly improved the lives of countless patients around the world. In 2016, a 3-year-old boy became the youngest person in the world to undergo KPro surgery. He suffered from Stevens-Johnson syndrome, a rare autoimmune disorder that causes toxic epidermal necrolysis, leading to severe corneal damage. KPro surgery restored his vision and allowed him to see his parents for the first time. Similarly, a 44-year-old man, born with an underdeveloped cornea, underwent KPro surgery, and his vision was fully restored. He even ran a marathon four months after the surgery, a feat he thought he would never accomplish.
How Can Patients Get Access To The Procedure?
Patients interested in undergoing the procedure should consult their eye doctors, who will recommend them to a surgeon specializing in corneal transplantation. The surgeon will evaluate the patient’s condition and determine their eligibility for the procedure.
Future Of KPro Surgery
KPro surgery continues to evolve rapidly. Current research is dedicated to enhancing the biocompatibility and longevity of KPro implants, aiming to provide long-term solutions for patients with corneal blindness. Moreover, scientists and medical professionals are actively exploring novel approaches to develop personalized KPro implants that are meticulously tailored to meet individual patients’ unique needs and conditions. These advancements hold great promise in revolutionizing the field of ophthalmology and improving the quality of life for countless individuals affected by corneal blindness.
Gibran Khurshid, MD, says KPro surgery is redefining possibilities for people with severe corneal blindness. It is a sophisticated and innovative surgical procedure designed to restore vision in patients who have exhausted all other treatment options. With a success rate of over 80%, KPro surgery is an excellent option for patients with rare eye conditions. While it is not risk-free, KPro has had a significant impact on the lives of many patients worldwide and has shown remarkable promise for the future of vision restoration.