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Although around 200,000 corneal transplants are performed worldwide each year – and corneal transplant is the most common organ transplant around the globe – close to 13 million people are still on a waiting list for a corneal graft (1), with average delays measured in years.
EyeYon Medical, founded by two leading cornea specialists – Ofer Daphna and Arie Markovich – and medical device entrepreneur Nahum Ferera, decided to address the shortage by developing EndoArt®. The ready-to-use, universally-available endothelial graft essentially replaces endothelial keratoplasty (DSAEK and DMEK) as the first line of treatment for corneal edema. EndoArt® may eliminate the waiting list for donor corneas, as well as the risks associated with transplanting tissues.
The EndoArt® implant is dome shaped, around 50 microns thick, with a curvature that resembles the posterior part of the cornea. It is made of an optically clear, foldable, biocompatible co-polymer with the mechanical strength to allow smooth and controlled insertion and easy intraocular manipulation – without the risk of damaging the implant (a potential issue with donor tissue).
The end result: a strong, resilient graft that covers around 40 percent of the cornea’s area, blocking excessive aqueous humour penetration from one side, while ensuring corneal nutrition from the other. Moreover, continual fluid evaporation from the anterior part of the cornea helps to balance the cornea’s water content. As EndoArt® was designed to impede water permeability to compensate for the reduced efficacy of the endothelial pump, it is applicable to mitigating corneal edema regardless of etiology.