Background: The mucopolysaccharidoses (MPS) are an inhomogeneous group of disorders of errors in the carbohydrate metabolism with severe ocular involvement (corneal opacification, retinal degeneration, optic atrophy).
Patient presentation: We report on a boy aged 12 years, with Morquio A (MPS IV A) syndrome. Ocular findings: progressive pseudoexophthalmus due to shallow orbits, increasing corneal stromal clouding, intermittent dissociated manifest nystagmus of the left eye, nyctalopia. Visual acuity OD cc = 0.16, OS cc = 0.05. Electrophysiology: changes suggesting a symptomatic tapetoretinal degeneration and optic atrophy. TREATMENT AND COURSE OF DISEASE: OS: perforating keratoplasty. Postoperative improvement of visual acuity to 0.25 for nearly a year, followed by progressive reopacification of the corneal graft. Both eyes: progressive signs of tapetoretinal degeneration and optic atrophy. Visual acuity now reduced to OD 0.05, OS 0.1.
Conclusions: Success of a keratoplasty is limited by (1) reopacification of the cornea, (2) visual impairment due to (a) retinal degeneration and (b) optic atrophy. The indication for perforating keratoplasty has to be thought about very carefully in these multimorbid patients. In our patient, beside progressive visual impairment there is a progressive deafness which dominates his social and school life. Attending school is severely complicated by the double handicap. Perforating keratoplasty enabled the boy to attend a school for physically handicapped without a special low-vision care for another year. Progressive visual loss without further treatment options now renders optical and electronic low-vision aids necessary. Although the time of improved visual acuity lasted less than a year, we think patients with a life expectancy of less than 20 years should have every possible improvement of their situation - even if it does not last permanently. We therefore propose perforating keratoplasty in spite of insufficient long-term results.