Eye Bank Association of America, ADCIS, and Lions Gift of Sight Innovate Eye Banking
Lions Gift of Sight (LGS), a world-renowned eye bank; ADCIS, a company specializing in innovative and high-performance image processing; and the Eye Bank Association of America (EBAA), which represents every non-profit eye bank in the United States, are proud to announce the latest innovation in donor cornea evaluation: Kerify Vision.
Kerify Vision is an automated computer vision software system that, for the first time, provides accurate quantification of the total processing damage seen in donor corneas. Developed by LGS and ADCIS, and supported by EBAA investment capital, Kerify Vision will determine donor corneal health more accurately than current methods. This will improve patient outcomes with corneal transplantation and eye bank operations.
After processing, eye banks typically determine whether a donor cornea is healthy enough to transplant by using a specular microscope. Specular microscopes can visualize and evaluate how healthy the cornea endothelium is. This is the key criteria for determining the quality of donor corneas. However, specular microscopes cannot scan more than 1% of the cornea so they often miss significant areas of damage and can thus be quite inaccurate. Specular microscopy is also time consuming to perform, taking up to 30 minutes to evaluate a single cornea. And the accuracy of specular microscopy is heavily dependent on image quality, which can vary widely depending on numerous finicky details such as how warm the cornea is, how long it has been allowed to sit, and how the cornea was processed.
An alternative to specular microscopy is using vital dyes to stain the damaged areas on the cornea endothelium. Using such staining techniques, eye banks can rapidly and consistently visualize how much damage has been done to the entire cornea. However, current methods to quantify the amount of stained damage on a given cornea are time consuming and highly dependent on the skill of the technician. Under these conditions, the eye banks frequently rely on estimates of how much damage is seen on staining, and these estimates tend to overestimate the damage. This contributes to the waste of transplantable tissue.
Kerify Vision improves upon the endothelial staining method by providing computer-aided quantification of the area of damage revealed by stain. This automated method is poised to become the gold standard for tissue assessment. Using Kerify Vision, eye banks can accurately assess endothelial damage and produce a report for surgeons in seconds. Kerify Vision provides accurate, comprehensive, and reproducible analysis of the health of processed corneas, so eye banks and surgeons can ensure donor corneas are well-suited for transplantation.
“We are delighted to be partnering with LGS and EBAA to bring ADCIS computer vision expertise to eye banks,” said François Potevin, ADCIS Director. “I strongly believe that image processing software can support eye banks in their tissue assessment processes. And this is only the beginning!”
“EBAA has been committed to driving innovation in eye banking and corneal transplantation since our founding in 1961. We believe that Kerify Vision will result in greater certainty for surgeons, improved operations for eye banks and better stewardship of the gift of sight provided by our generous cornea donors”, added Kevin Corcoran, EBAA’s President & CEO.
“It is our duty as stewards of these precious donated gifts to leverage technology to further evolve our capabilities in restoring sight. The team at Lions Gift of Sight identified a gap with tools available to eye banks and has worked with the experts at ADCIS to innovate solutions. The EBAA is helping us put this tool in the hands of technicians to start improving processes as soon as possible,” reported Brian Philippy, LGS Director of Business Development.
“Although corneal transplantation and corneal tissue processing techniques have evolved immensely over the past 2 decades, our tools for evaluating corneas for transplantation have not changed since tissue evaluation was first standardized. There is a huge technology gap in how we transplant corneas and the antiquated method in which we pick out corneas for transplantation. Bringing our tissue evaluation technology up to par with modern corneal transplantation techniques with Kerify Vision is critical for improving patient outcomes from corneal transplantation.” Joshua H. Hou, MD, Medical Director LGS, Associate Professor of Ophthalmology, University of Minnesota.
Thanks to EBAA funding, Kerify Vision will soon be available to eye banks worldwide.
Lions Gift of Sight is a community-based non-profit eye bank. Founded in 1960, it is the oldest anatomic donation organization in Minnesota. LGS serves the needs of donors in Minnesota, western Wisconsin, and North Dakota and distributes corneas and ocular tissue for transplantation, research, and medical education throughout the world.
The Eye Bank Association of America is the world’s oldest transplant association and is the nationally recognized accrediting and standards setting body for eye banks. The EBAA champions the restoration of sight through core services to members and advancing donation, transplantation, and research throughout the world.
ADCIS is a Computer Vision pure player developing innovative image processing and analysis software in areas including ophthalmology, life sciences, and industrial processes.