Corneal endothelial cells do not naturally regenerate; when lost, they are gone forever.

As endothelial cell loss worsens:

  • The remaining cells can spread to cover the exposed portions of the cornea to maintain visual function

  • However, as corneal endothelial cells enlarge and as density decreases to 400 cells/mm2 or fewer, the remaining cells may be unable to keep the cornea dry and maintain functional vision

  • Corneal edema (swelling) may occur, with associated vision loss

  • In addition, epithelial edema may occur, which can result in a painful, debilitating foreign body sensation in the eye

Until now, the only effective treatments for corneal endothelial disease involve corneal transplantation or endothelial keratoplasty, surgical procedures that replace diseased or damaged corneas with healthy corneal tissue.

While these surgical procedures have proven effective, they require healthy donor corneas in a 1:1 ratio (one healthy donor cornea to treat each diseased cornea). The global supply of donor corneas cannot address the need caused by corneal endothelial disease