Innovation throughout the corneal transplant chain

Since its founding in 2000, NIIOS has focused on innovation throughout the corneal transplant chain. This focus has made NIIOS the world’s leading center of expertise in corneal surgery. On this page, we share several examples of our innovative work.

(Advanced) DMEK (Descemet membrane endothelial keratoplasty)

DMEK is a surgical technique to treat corneal diseases affecting the inner (posterior) side of the cornea, such as Fuchs endothelial dystrophy and bullous keratopathy. This surgical technique does not replace all the layers of the cornea with donor tissue, but only the diseased layer: the patient’s Descemet membrane including its endothelium. This minimally invasive lamellar technique enables faster recovery, fewer risks, and better vision compared to a full corneal transplant in which all the layers of the cornea are replaced by donor tissue.

Bowman Layer Transplantation for Advanced Keratoconus

Bowman layer transplantation is one of our newest surgical techniques for patients with advanced keratoconus. In a Bowman layer transplantation, we implant a thin layer of donor cornea (the Bowman layer) between the connective tissue layers of the patient’s cornea, making the cornea firmer. This procedure achieves a reduction and stabilization of corneal ectasia in eyes with progressive, advanced keratoconus. Patients can still wear contact lenses after Bowman layer transplantation. In addition, it postpones riskier procedures such as penetrating keratoplasty or deep anterior lamellar keratoplasty.

Program to Prevent Donor Tissue Rejection

One of the major complications after DMEK is the rejection of the donor tissue (called allograft rejection). Allograft rejection is usually only diagnosed once the immune system is all geared up and the eye has become inflamed. We are currently working on a method to identify potential allograft rejections by combining and weighing various parameters. Using this method, we should be able to recognize corneal changes that herald a pending rejection. Such early identification, before rejection actually occurs, would enable us to start preventive treatment before any damage is done to the eye.

Optimal Donor Tissue Use

Thanks to our new lamellar surgical techniques such as (advanced) DMEK and Bowman layer transplantation, we have been able to increase the global pool of donor tissue available for corneal transplantation. Read more about this important achievement.

Staining Solutions for Intraocular Surgery

To enhance the surgeon’s ability to see the structures inside the eye during surgery, NIIOS has introduced several vital-dye staining solutions which are now routinely used throughout the world, including VisionBlue®, MembraneBlue®, MembraneBlue Dual® and ILM Blue®.

Since our founding in 2000, an estimated 20,000,000 people around the world have been successfully treated with NIIOS-developed surgeries and products.

For professionals: Read more about these and other innovations on our R&D Projects page.

For patients: Read more about our surgical treatments for various corneal diseases.