Ultrafast laser maker IntraLase Corp. of Irvine, Calif., has announced it is donating the use of its FS Laser for use in corneal transplants needed by patients diagnosed with Fusarium keratitis eye infection. IntraLase said the FS is the first laser in the US used to create innovative corneal incisions for full-thickness corneal transplants, and that the laser, related software and disposable devices replace the handheld microkeratome blade used during Lasik surgery. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, of the over 120 patients affected by the recent outbreak of Fusarium eye infections, 30 percent have required corneal transplants. This represents a four-fold increase in cases reported over the previous year and is largely attributed to use of certain contact lens solution products. The ultrafast femtosecond laser allows a surgeon to create precisely shaped incisions that enable tissue to fit together much like a puzzle, IntraLase said. This may provide a more stable graft that potentially requires fewer sutures and speeds patient healing and vision recovery. Patients will be responsible for the surgeon and hospital fees associated with the procedure. "Unfortunately, some of these patients are left with no other option than a corneal transplant," said Robert J. Palmisano, president and CEO of IntraLase. "The new application of our laser in corneal transplant surgery gives us a unique opportunity to assist those in need. We hope this gesture will not only alleviate some of the out-of-pocket expense associated with corneal transplant surgery, but also provide a sense of security and a rapid return to functional vision." IntraLase will donate the use of the laser for Fusarium keratitis patients throughout 2006. Four leading ophthalmic centers will be providing the corneal transplants: The Corneal Research Foundation of America in Indianapolis, the University of California at Irvine Department of Ophthalmology, Slade and Baker Vision in Houston and Laser Eye Consultants of Boston. For more information, call (877) 393-2020, ext. 318, e-mail email@example.com or contact one of the provider centers directly.