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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 68  |  Issue : 11  |  Page : 2368-2371

Corneal transplantation and eye banking practices during COVID-19-related lockdown period in India from a network of tertiary eye care centers

1 Cornea and Anterior Segment Services, L V Prasad Eye Institute, Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh, India
2 Cornea and Anterior Segment Services, L V Prasad Eye Institute, Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India
3 Cornea and Anterior Segment Services, L V Prasad Eye Institute, Hyderabad, Telangana, India
4 Cornea and Anterior Segment Services, L V Prasad Eye Institute, Vishakapatnam, Andhra Pradesh, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Sunita Chaurasia
Cornea and Anterior Segment, LV Prasad Eye Institute, Hyderabad - 500 034, Telangana
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijo.IJO_2258_20

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Purpose: The purpose of this study was to discuss the guidelines and modification of practices with respect to corneal transplantation and eye banking during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown period and beyond, at a network of tertiary care centers in India. Methods: Descriptive study of the challenges faced in eye banking during the lockdown, and practices adopted to overcome the critical aspects in the clinical care of patients who presented with emergency corneal diseases requiring keratoplasty. Results: Complete lockdown orders from the Indian government, as a strategy to control the Coronavirus pandemic, resulted in drastic reduction of all types of elective corneal transplants and eye banking activities from March 24, 2020 to May 31, 2020. The sudden cessation of eye banking resulted in an acute demand and supply imbalance of fresh donor corneas for transplants during this time. Our network of eye banks addressed this issue by adopting glycerol preservation of donor corneas, which were subsequently utilized for tectonic penetrating keratoplasty. The donor cornea retrieval was resumed in a strategized manner 3 weeks prior to the date of exit of the lockdown, with modified guidelines on donor suitability, screening, retrieval, processing, and harvesting from various sources. A triage of keratoplasty priority was formulated to tide over the post lockdown shortage of corneas. We performed 31 therapeutic keratoplasties during the nationwide lockdown among our network of tertiary eye care centers. Conclusion: The study highlights the approach and strategies to manage and tide over an unprecedented crisis situation faced by corneal surgeons in general and, specifically, the eye banking community.

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