Objective: To investigate the safety and evaluate the effect of fresh amniotic membrane transplantation to reconstruct the ocular surface with severe inflammation and scarring.
Method: Amniotic membrane transplantation (38 cases, 46 eyes), or combined with either limbal transplantation (9 cases, 9 eyes) or lamellar keratoplasty (8 cases, 8 eyes) was performed on ocular surface burns (5 cases, 6 eyes), recurrent Mooren's ulcer (8 cases, 8 eyes) and severe symblepharon (38 cases, 46 eyes). All the patients were followed-up for 6 - 18 months (mean, 11 months). Impression cytology was examined in 21 eyes with normal tear secretion post-operatively.
Results: No acute rejection was observed after fresh amniotic membrane transplantation. No progressive melt and perforation were seen in five out of six eyes with burns in reconstructed ocular surfaces. Neovascularization, pseudopterygium and iris atrophy were not found during the follow-up. Visual acuity was improved in various degrees. Corneal ulceration was not noted in 8 cases (8 eyes) with frequently recurrent Mooren's ulcer. Ocular surface reconstruction was successful in 46 of 49 eyes with severe symblepharon. Symblepharon occurred in the remaining three eyes but much less than pre-transplantation in degree. Amniotic epithelia have been examined in about three months on the transplanted eyes with normal tear secretion.
Conclusion: Fresh amniotic membrane can be used as a graft to reconstruct ocular surface. Such transplantation can effectively reduce neovascularization, fibrosis and inflammation. Our data indicated that complete removal of pathological tissues and perfect fixation of amniotic membrane graft are crucial steps in the reconstruction of ocular surface.