Purpose: To develop a technique that achieves satisfactory visual rehabilitation in keratoglobus, without the problems of re-epithelialization failure and with minimal risk of graft rejection.
Methods: A patient with bilateral keratoglobus and visual acuities of light perception in the right eye and 6/60 in the left underwent a tectonic lamellar keratoplasty to the right eye. The cornea was first trephined to the depth of the anterior stroma within the limbus. A lamellar dissection technique then was used to tunnel into sclera under the limbus to preserve stem cells. The host corneal epithelium was completely débrided, and a donor corneoscleral button, denuded of its endothelium, was laid on top. A paracentesis was made, and aqueous was aspirated until the anterior chamber had collapsed enough to take up a more physiologic shape. The donor corneoscleral graft was sutured into the prefashioned scleral bed with long, interrupted sutures. Once in situ, the donor graft was débrided of epithelium, and the host limbus was sutured on to it, covering its scleral component. Six months later, a penetrating keratoplasty was performed. The same procedure was performed on the left eye 2 years later.
Results: The right eye maintained a best-corrected visual acuity of 6/60 for 16 months after the penetrating graft until the graft decompensated, leaving a final acuity of counting fingers. The left eye maintained a best-corrected visual acuity of 6/18.
Conclusion: Tectonic lamellar keratoplasty to preserve the host limbus, followed by secondary penetrating keratoplasty, is a realistic alternative to other procedures for the surgical management of keratoglobus.