Purpose: To illustrate the benefit of limbal stem cell transplantation in three eyes with severe ocular surface failure due to chemical burns.
Methods: In two patients with monocular corneal scarring and vascularization after chronic chemical burns, a limbal tissue autograft was transferred from the unaffected fellow eye. A complete superficial keratectomy was performed on the host eye. One patient with bilateral ocular surface disorder received an eccentrically trephined corneolimbal allograft. To prevent immunologic rejection of the transplanted limbus, this patient was treated with systemic Ciclosporin A.
Results: Postoperatively the limbal autografts grew a normal epithelium on the recipient eye with less vascularization and scarring. Our two patients reported a significant reduction in symptoms (redness, pain, photophobia) and an improved visual acuity. The corneolimbal allograft has remained clear for five months postoperatively.
Conclusion: In strictly unilateral conditions of limbal deficiency, transplantation of healthy limbal tissue from the normal fellow eye may result in a stable ocular surface and a quiet and comfortable eye. Transplantation of an eccentrically trephined corneolimbal allograft under systemic Ciclosporin A cover may be an option in the rehabilitation of patients with severe bilateral stem cell deficiencies.