PURPOSE: To determine the effects of prolonged cryopreservation at subzero-degree temperatures on corneal transparency and histology after treatment with preservation medium containing the phosphodiester glycerylphosphorylcholine (GPC). METHODS: Rabbit corneas (n = 30) were immersed for 3 hours in K-Sol preservation medium containing 30 mM GPC. Three groups with 6 corneas each were refrigerated at -8°C for 2 weeks and liquid nitrogen temperature for 2 and 6 weeks, respectively. Two groups with 6 corneas each immersed in K-Sol preservation medium only were refrigerated at -8°C for 2 weeks and liquid nitrogen temperature for 6 weeks, respectively. Postthawing corneal transparency was measured on a grading scale after which corneas were prepared for and analyzed by light and transmission electron microscopy. RESULTS: All 3 groups of corneas preserved with GPC maintained a greater degree of corneal transparency compared with corneas preserved without GPC. The number of corneas retaining epithelial and endothelial layers increased in all groups where corneas were preserved in medium containing GPC, in contrast to corneas preserved in medium without GPC. Cytoplasmic vacuolization or nuclear damage was greater in corneas preserved without GPC. Similar findings were found in corneas stored at -8°C and liquid nitrogen temperatures. CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrates a cryoprotective effect of corneas preserved in K-Sol containing the phosphodiester GPC at subzero-degree temperatures. In corneas immersed in preservation medium containing GPC, a higher degree of transparency is maintained and a lesser degree of histopathologic changes is observed with storage at both -8°C and in liquid nitrogen.