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DesceCleave: Increasing Access to Vision-Restoring Corneal Transplants by Deskilling DALK

Team Members:
  • Deepika Dixit
  • Kaiyan Cai
  • Alejandro Chara
  • Emanuel Wasson
  • Jordan Shuff
  • Sudeep Pramanik
  • Kunal Parikh
  • Katie Solley


Worldwide, more than 12.8 million individuals suffer from corneal blindness. Corneal blindness can be devastating and leads to an increased risk of physical harm, mental disorders, social isolation and cognitive deficits, resulting in an over 15 year reduction in life expectancy of patients. Corneal transplants can restore vision; however, current techniques, especially full-thickness corneal transplants are limited by access to donor tissue and high complication rates, including rejection, infection, and glaucoma. Partial thickness corneal transplants, such as deep anterior lamellar keratoplasty (DALK), have the potential to provide improved visual outcomes for patients and have a lower risk of post-operative complications, but they are more difficult to perform and have an increased risk of intraoperative complications.

In partnership with Eyedea Medical, our mission is to alleviate the global burden of corneal blindness through innovations in cornea transplantation. Our team has worked in collaboration with Eyedea Medical to develop DesceCleave, an assistive device for DALK procedures. DesceCleave enables precise and accurate DALK by providing surgeons with control over the depth at which they remove layers of affected tissue with micro-precision. We believe that enabling safe, standardized, and precise DALK procedures will significantly improve treatment of corneal blindness by driving adoption of a procedure with lower graft rejection rates, shorter recovery times, and decreased reliance on medication. We plan to make this device available to a global market of corneal surgeons so that they can conduct more DALK procedures over unnecessary and less successful full-thickness cornea transplants. With Descecleave, we hope to bring the gift of sight back to many of the 12.8 million individuals who are currently affected.

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