Purpose: To study the short-term clinical results of transplanting of cultivated corneal/limbal epithelial cells on human amniotic membrane (AM) for limbal deficiency.
Design: Noncomparative, retrospective interventional case series.
Participants: Thirteen eyes of 13 patients with severe limbal deficiency (Stevens-Johnson syndrome in eight eyes, ocular cicatricial pemphigoid in three eyes, and chemical burns in two eyes) were treated at the department of Ophthalmology, Tokyo Dental College, Japan.
Intervention: Cultivated allo-limbal epithelium was transplanted onto the ocular surface of patients with severe limbal deficiency.
Main outcome measures: Ocular surface reconstruction with corneal epithelialization, changes in visual acuity, and postoperative complications were studied. Histologic examinations were also performed on cultivated epithelium.
Results: Cultivated corneal epithelium on AM formed two to three layers with the formation of basement membrane-like structures. After the surgery, the epithelium regenerated and covered the ocular surface in eight eyes (61.5%). However, three of the eight eyes developed partial conjunctival invasion, and two eyes later developed epithelial defects. At last examination, corneal epithelialization was achieved in six eyes (46.2%). Five eyes had conjunctivalization, one eye had dermal epithelialization, and one eye was not epithelialized. Complications were corneal perforation in four eyes and infectious keratitis in two eyes.
Conclusions: This study demonstrates that the success rate for transplanting cultivated allo-limbal epithelium on the AM is not different from the conventional limbal and AM transplantation for the treatment of severe limbal stem cell dysfunction.