To evaluate endothelial viability of human corneas stored in glass vials and in viewing chambers (Alcon) for extended periods, and to compare endothelial viability of Optisol-GS—stored corneas with corneas excised from moist chamber—stored globes.
Endothelial viability was assessed using two staining techniques. Endothelium from stored corneas was stained with trypan blue combined with alizarin red S or stained with calcein AM-ethidium homodimer. Both techniques were used to determine which method is a more sensitive indicator of cytotoxic change.
Corneas stored 4 to 21 days in Optisol-GS had a rate (mean±SE) of endothelial cell damage of 0.57%±0.30% per day in vials and 0.69%±0.27% in chambers. After storage intervals from 4 to 21 days, the Optisol-GS endothelium had an average decrease in viability of 9.5% to 16%. The endothelium of moist chamber eyes had a 44% to 59% decrease in viability after 2 to 5 days. After 24 hours, corneal endothelium of moist chamber eyes had less than 15% decrease in viability. Optisol-GS corneas stored for 35 to 56 days had greater than 50% decrease in endothelial viability. After 67 days, 95% to 100% of endothelial viability was lost.
Corneas stored in Optisol-GS through 21 days at 4°C maintain a high percentage of viable endothelial cells. There was no significant difference of endothelial viability between corneas stored in glass vials or in viewing chambers (Alcon). A 50% loss of endothelial viability occurred in moist chamber—stored corneas after 2 days and by 35 days in corneas stored in Optisol-GS.