Clinical outcomes of penetrating keratoplasty after autologous cultivated limbal epithelial transplantation for ocular surface burns

Am J Ophthalmol. 2011 Dec;152(6):917-924.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.ajo.2011.05.019.

Abstract

Purpose: To report the clinical outcomes of penetrating keratoplasty (PK) after autologous cultivated limbal epithelial transplantation in eyes with limbal stem cell deficiency (LSCD) after ocular surface burns.

Design: Retrospective case series.

Methods: This study included 47 patients with unilateral LSCD treated by autologous cultivated limbal epithelial transplantation and PK between 2001 and 2010. PK was performed either along with (single-stage; n = 12) or at least 6 weeks after (2-stage; n = 35) limbal transplantation. The primary outcome measure was corneal allograft survival, and failure was defined clinically as loss of central graft clarity. Secondary outcomes were postoperative Snellen visual acuity and complications.

Results: Most patients were young (mean age, 18 ± 11.4 years) males (76.6%) with LSCD resulting from alkali burns (78.7%) and with visual acuity less than 20/200 (91.5%). The mean follow-up was 4.2 ± 1.9 years. Kaplan-Meier corneal allograft survival rate at 1 year was significantly greater in eyes undergoing 2-stage limbal and corneal transplantation (80 ± 6%; median survival, 4 years) compared with single-stage limbal and corneal transplantation (25 ± 13%; median survival, 6 months; P = .0003). Visual acuity of 20/40 or better was attained by 71.4% of eyes with clear corneal grafts. Allograft failure occurred in 26 (60.5%) eyes as a result of graft rejection (57.7%), graft infiltrate (26.9%), or persistent epithelial defects (15.4%). Recurrence of LSCD was more common after single-stage (58.3%) than 2-stage (14.3%) surgery (P = .008).

Conclusions: The 2-stage approach of autologous cultivated limbal epithelial transplantation followed by PK successfully restores ocular surface stability and vision in eyes with chronic ocular burns. The single-stage approach is associated with poorer clinical outcomes and should be avoided.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Alkalies
  • Burns, Chemical / physiopathology
  • Burns, Chemical / surgery*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Corneal Diseases / physiopathology
  • Corneal Diseases / surgery*
  • Epithelial Cells / transplantation
  • Epithelium, Corneal / transplantation*
  • Eye Burns / chemically induced*
  • Eye Burns / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Graft Survival / physiology
  • Humans
  • Keratoplasty, Penetrating*
  • Limbus Corneae / cytology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Stem Cell Transplantation*
  • Stem Cells / pathology
  • Transplantation, Autologous
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Visual Acuity / physiology
  • Young Adult

Substances

  • Alkalies