Purpose: To evaluate the efficacy of multilayer amniotic membrane transplantation for reconstruction of corneal epithelium and stroma in the context of deep corneal ulcers.
Design: Prospective, noncomparative, interventional case series.
Participants: Eleven consecutive patients with deep corneal ulcers refractory to conventional treatment; six patients had herpetic keratitis and five had other forms of neurotrophic keratitis.
Intervention: Multilayer amniotic membrane transplantation with kryopreserved human amniotic membrane.
Main outcome measures: Integrity of corneal epithelium and stroma, opacification, and appearance of grafted membrane during 12 months follow-up.
Results: Amniotic membrane transplantation markedly reduced ocular inflammation in all patients. Epithelium healed above all corneal ulcers within 4 weeks and remained stable in 9 of 11 patients for 1 year. Two patients with recurrent epithelial defect suffered from severe neurotrophic keratitis. Following transplantation the amniotic membranes gradually dissolved over a period of 12 months, but stromal thickness remained stable.
Conclusion: Amniotic membrane transplantation allows corneal surface reconstruction in patients with persistent epithelial defects. The multilayer technique is useful for treating deep corneal ulcers and even descemetoceles. Because the procedure results in stability of the ocular surface over a period of more than 12 months in most patients, it may be considered an alternative to conventional surgical techniques for ocular surface reconstruction.