Endothelial cell survival and graft profile analysis in descemet stripping endothelial keratoplasty

Cornea. 2011 Aug;30(8):865-71. doi: 10.1097/ICO.0b013e3182107a18.


Purpose: To report the results of descemet stripping endothelial keratoplasty (DSEK) for a single-surgeon, consecutive case series.

Method: All patients undergoing DSEK at our institution from 2006 to 2007 under the care of a single consultant ophthalmologist were enrolled. This was a nonrandomized, retrospective case series. Grafts were dissected manually using an artificial anterior chamber and a Morlet lamellar dissector. Data were collected for refractive error, visual acuity, endothelial cell density, graft thickness, and graft profile.

Results: Twenty-one eyes of 20 patients were included. The average age at surgery was 69 ± 11 years (range, 37-88 years). The main indication for DSEK was Fuchs endothelial dystrophy. The mean preoperative best spectacle-corrected visual acuity was 1.2 logarithm of the minimum angle of resolution, improving to 0.48 logarithm of the minimum angle of resolution postoperatively (P = 0.001). Endothelial cell density decreased postoperatively compared with preoperatively, but the rate of cell loss decreased over time. No significant correlation was observed between mean graft thickness and final visual acuity or between graft profile and refractive shift.

Conclusions: DSEK is a positive alternative to PK in the treatment of endothelial dysfunction. Visual function improves and the associated refractive change is negligible. Complication rates are low, and graft survival over 2 years is high. Manual preparation of tissue provides grafts of suitable thickness and profile, and endothelial cell density decline is comparable with that of donor's tissue cut via microkeratome or after PK.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cell Count
  • Cell Survival / physiology
  • Corneal Diseases / physiopathology
  • Corneal Diseases / surgery*
  • Descemet Stripping Endothelial Keratoplasty*
  • Endothelium, Corneal / pathology*
  • Female
  • Graft Survival / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Refraction, Ocular / physiology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Visual Acuity / physiology