Application of the amniotic membrane in ocular surface pathology

Ann Transplant. 1999;4(3-4):82-4.


The amnion is a fine semi-transparent membrane that has been used in clinical practice to encourage epithelization in burns, in skin ulcers, or as a skin graft. Application in ocular surface disorders first took place in 1940. We carried out the membrane amniotic implantation on 11 patients with different pathologies: three cases of limbal stem cell deficiency (caustication with failure of prior keratoplasty, congenital aniridia and post-radiotherapy keratopathy), one case with persistent neurotrophic corneal ulcer after prior keratoplasty, four cases with epithelial defect of long evolution, one case of extensive Salzmann's degeneration of the cornea, and two cases after the resection of conjunctival tumour. The follow-up period varied between 2 and 6.5 months (mean = 4 months). Amniotic membrane was obtained by elective Caesarean, and it was preserved at -80 degrees C. In all transplanted patients the reabsorption of the amniotic membrane took place between the third and the fifth week. In the cases of resection of conjunctival tumour the epithelialization was completed between the first and the second post-operative week, with minimal residual scarring. In the other cases, with affliction of the corneal epithelium, the complete epithelialization, together with a marked reduction in the inflammatory response, occurred in all except 2 cases. In conclusion, the implantation of preserved human amniotic membrane can favour the recovery of a normal ocular surface in different pathologies, both in corneal and conjunctival lesions.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Amnion / transplantation*
  • Conjunctiva / pathology
  • Conjunctiva / surgery
  • Cornea / pathology
  • Cornea / surgery
  • Epithelium / pathology
  • Eye / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Ophthalmologic Surgical Procedures*
  • Transplantation, Homologous