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Terminal Sterilization: One Eye Bank’s Experience
Christopher G. Stoeger, MBA, CEBT, CTBS
Microorganisms are frequently referred to as “bugs”. Terminal sterilization is a method of inactivating any microorganisms on a given object. Corneal tissue is not considered sterile and, by definition, harbors microorganisms. While infections related to corneal transplants are rare, they do happen. For some types of corneal transplants, cellular viability is not required. Examples of this are tectonic grafts and glaucoma shunt covers. For these non-viable grafts, eye banks may wish to consider a sterilization protocol in order to reduce the already low likelihood of graft related infections. Additionally, sterilization of corneal tissue makes shelf-stability easier to achieve as bioburden growth will no longer compromise the tissue once sterilized. Making a sterility claim is not to be taken lightly. Please use this information in careful consultation of experts in the field of tissue sterilization.