Ophthalmology has been experiencing leapfrogged improvements in every subspecialty. For Cornea, continual development has led to new diagnostic tools, novel drugs, advanced surgical techniques, innovative usages of laser and ultraviolet light, cutting-edge ocular implants, and effective stem cells transplantation. For ophthalmic surgeons, keeping up with these advances is a necessary but not at all simple undertake.
With that in mind, a group of dedicated and socially minded Thai ophthalmologists took initiative to form the Cornea Surgery Interest Group (C.S.I.). The first meeting was on December 28, 2014. The main aim of C.S.I. is to be a platform for following new development and sharing knowledge and experiences in the hope to elevate and improve the standard of the cornea surgeries in Thailand. Most importantly, our activities must lead to the greatest benefits for the patients.
C.S.I. plans to have many projects to disseminate new knowledge in the forms of meetings, workshops, online discussion group, surgical proctoring, guidelines development etc.
First priority is to help elevate the state of cornea transplantation in Thailand.
Penetrating Keratoplasty (PK) is still considered a very good option for patients with corneal opacity. However, there are many disadvantages of this procedure such as long recovery time, weak surgical wound, problems related to sutures, and graft rejection.
For this reason, this past decade has seen development of many exciting new cornea surgery collectively called Selective Lamellar Keratoplasty (LK) in which only the corneal layer with pathology is replaced instead of the entire cornea as in PK. The lamellar techniques reduce recovery time, lessen complications, and decrease graft rejection. It is clear that eye surgeons worldwide have come to favor LK. The proportion of LK, especially DSEK, DALK, and DMEK, in Europe, America, Japan, and Singapore has risen up to 30-50% of all corneal transplantation.
In Thailand, LK is not widely performed. Factors contribute to such low number may include lack of equipment and inadequate supply of cornea tissues. As the result, Thai ophthalmic surgeons face steep barriers to hone their skills in these new LK techniques and eventually loss interests in Selective Lamellar Keratoplasty. Therefore, Thai patients, who might otherwise benefit from LK, had lost access to these valuable procedures.
The very first activity of C.S.I. is the DSEK Skills Transfer Course that consists of lectures, wet-lab, live surgical demonstrations, and proctored surgeries by experts from the USA, India, and Thailand.
This activity would not have been possible without the generous supports from Uthai Rutnin Foundation, Visionaries International, National Eye Institute Initiative Project/ Mettapracharak (Wat Rai Khing) Hospital, Princess Mother’s Medical Volunteer Foundation, various companies. C.S.I. is grateful for their kind supports.
Lastly, I would like to thank every committee member who selflessly contributes his or her time and ideas to make C.S.I. a reality. I also would like to thank all ophthalmologists who apply to be C.S.I. members. I hope to see your cooperation and hear your thoughts and suggestions on ways to improve C.S.I. to reach our stated goals.
Kulayanee Rojanaporn, M.D.
President, Cornea Surgery Interest Group
16 March, 2015