Surgical strategies for fornix reconstruction based on symblepharon severity

Am J Ophthalmol. 2008 Aug;146(2):266-275. doi: 10.1016/j.ajo.2008.03.028. Epub 2008 Jun 2.


Purpose: To identify surgical strategies of fornix reconstruction for symblepharon graded according to the length from the limbus to the lid margin, to the width, and to associated inflammation.

Design: Retrospective, comparative, interventional case series.

Methods: In 61 eyes with symblepharon, cicatrix lysis and amniotic membrane transplantation (AMT) were performed with sutures (n = 34) or fibrin glue (n = 27) together with (n = 47) or without (n = 14) intraoperative mitomycin C (MMC), plus fornix reconstruction using anchoring sutures without (n = 30) or with (n = 7) oral mucosal graft or with conjunctival autograft (n = 4). Overall, success was defined as an outcome of complete success (restoration of an anatomically deep fornix) or partial success (focal recurrence of scar), and failure was defined as the return of symblepharon.

Results: For a follow-up of 25 +/- 10.8 months, the overall success was achieved by the first attempt in 52 eyes (85.2%) and failure resulted in nine eyes (14.8%); however, the success rate improved to 59 eyes (96.7%) with additional attempts. At the first attempt, AMT alone achieved overall successes in 92.8% of grade I eyes and in 100% of grade II eyes. Additional anchoring sutures achieved successes in 100% of grade I eyes, 70% of grade II eyes, and 71.4% of grade III/IV eyes. Additional oral mucosa or conjunctival autograft achieved successes in 100% of grade III/IV eyes. The complete success was correlated positively with lower grades of symblepharon or intraoperative use of MMC, but negatively correlated with younger ages, canthal involvement, or use of anchoring sutures. Anatomic improvement was accompanied by reduction of preoperative conjunctival inflammation (n = 40), improved visual acuity (n = 14), improved ocular motility (n = 18), improved eyelid closure (n = 3), and feasibility of contact lens wear (n = 10).

Conclusions: Successful outcome can be achieved by selectively deploying cicatrix lysis and AMT, intraoperative MMC, anchoring sutures, and oral mucosal or conjunctival autograft based on the severity of pathogenic symblepharon.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alkylating Agents / administration & dosage
  • Amnion / transplantation
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Conjunctival Diseases / classification
  • Conjunctival Diseases / surgery*
  • Eyelid Diseases / classification
  • Eyelid Diseases / surgery*
  • Female
  • Fibrin Tissue Adhesive / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mitomycin / administration & dosage
  • Mucous Membrane / transplantation
  • Ophthalmologic Surgical Procedures / methods*
  • Reconstructive Surgical Procedures / methods*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Suture Techniques
  • Transplantation, Autologous
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Alkylating Agents
  • Fibrin Tissue Adhesive
  • Mitomycin