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Potential Adverse Effects on the Cornea Donor Pool in 2031
Woodford Spears Van Meter, MD, Preeti Haresh Sheth
eye bank, corneal transplantation, hepatitis B, hepatitis C
PURPOSE: To evaluate to adequacy of the cornea donor pool in 2031.
METHODS: Cornea supply and utilization data are obtained from the EBAA statistical report and compared with population data projections from the US Census Bureau. The rate of utilization can be extrapolated by linear best-fit analysis of the previous 5 years tissue utilization trends to estimate tissue needs in 2031. Similarly, the effects of hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and medical-social history on the donor pool can be projected.
RESULTS: The US population is expected to increase 16% over the next 20 years, but the rate of tissue utilization based on the last five years suggests the need for cornea tissue will increase nearly 133% in the next 20 years. If the trends from 2006 to 2011 continue over the next 20 years, the rate of donors testing positive for hepatitis B is projected to increase 275% and for hepatitis C, 241%, permanently eliminating them from the donor pool. In the same fashion, the number of patients eliminated from the donor pool because of medical-social history findings is estimated to increase 237% over the next 20 years.
CONCLUSIONS: The need for donor corneas over the next 20 years will increase proportionally much faster than the US population is growing. Potential donors eliminated because of hepatitis B and C and medical-social history are projected to increase as well. Public education programs, such as Donate Life America, which increase the number of consenting donors and mechanisms to enhance corneal preservation prior to surgery, should be started now.
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