Synthentic corneas are made use of in cases where there have been several graft failures or where the risk for grafting is high. Their main advantage is that they are biocompatible, preventing complications at the interface. The synthetics available in the market today include the Boston keratoprosthesis, the AlphaCor and the Osteo-Odonto-Keratoprosthesis.
The Boston keratoprosthesis or the Boston K Pro, as it is called, is the most widely used synthetic cornea to date. In 2008, over 900 procedures using the Boston K Pro were performed worldwide.
AlphaCor, a costly synthetic cornea, is used for patients who have had repeated failures or rejections with traditional transplants, and for those with conditions unsuitable for transplants from donor eyes.
Osteo-Odonto-Keratoprosthesis, indicated for patients with high disability, is a very complex procedure wherein a lamina of the patient's tooth is grafted into the eye, with an artificial lens in the transplanted piece.
Biosynthetic corneas are now in the prototype stage and may be ready for clinical use in the not-too-distant future.