Corneal neovascularization after nonmechanical versus mechanical corneal trephination for non-high-risk keratoplasty

Cornea. 2002 Oct;21(7):648-52. doi: 10.1097/00003226-200210000-00003.


Purpose: To analyze the influence of mechanical versus nonmechanical trephination of donor and host corneas on superficial, peripheral corneal neovascularization occurring after non-high-risk keratoplasty.

Methods: Patients of the prospective Erlangen non-high-risk keratoplasty study with standardized corneal photographs taken preoperatively and 1 year later were analyzed (n = 184). Slides of these photographs were projected (magnification x100) and corneal vessels graded in a standardized semiquantitative fashion into five categories with regard to limbus, sutures, and host-graft junction in each of 12 corneal sectors. Degree (total increase of grades in the 12 sectors) and maximal extent of corneal neovascularization (maximal centripetal extension of blood vessels) were analyzed. In 32 patients mechanical (17%) and in 152 nonmechanical trephination of host and donor tissue was performed (193-nm excimer laser, 83%). Statistical analysis was done using Fisher's exact and Mann-Whitney test.

Results: Corneal neovascularization within the first postoperative year was lower in the nonmechanical [73 of 152 (48%)] compared with mechanical trephination group [24 of 32 (75%); p< 0.01; Mann-Whitney test]. Maximal extent of neovascularization (i.e., vessels reaching the interface or growing beyond) was not yet significantly different between nonmechanical (8%) and mechanical (17%) trephination (p = 0.074).

Conclusions: Nonmechanical trephination using the 193-nm excimer laser in non-high-risk keratoplasties might reduce corneal neovascularization occurring within the first postoperative year. This indicates that in the non-high-risk setting, development of postoperative corneal neovascularization may be affected by the trephination technique and subsequent wound-healing response.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cornea / pathology
  • Cornea / surgery*
  • Corneal Neovascularization / etiology*
  • Corneal Neovascularization / pathology
  • Corneal Neovascularization / prevention & control*
  • Corneal Transplantation / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Laser Therapy*
  • Middle Aged
  • Ophthalmologic Surgical Procedures*
  • Prospective Studies