Infectious keratitis after lamellar keratoplasty

Surv Ophthalmol. 2021 Jul-Aug;66(4):623-643. doi: 10.1016/j.survophthal.2020.11.001. Epub 2020 Nov 17.


Infectious keratitis after lamellar keratoplasty is a potentially devastating complication that may severely limit the visual and anatomical outcomes. The deep-seated location of the infiltrates, sequestration of the pathogenic microorganisms and limited penetration of the currently available antimicrobial agents often results in delayed diagnosis that may jeopardize the management in these cases. Fungal keratitis is more common as compared with bacterial or viral keratitis and classically presents as white interface infiltrates that may not be associated with significant inflammation. Confocal microscopy may help to establish a rapid diagnosis in such cases, and anterior segment optical coherence tomography may be used to determine the extent of infection and monitor its progression. Conservative measures such as topical antimicrobials and interface irrigation with antimicrobial agents may be done. Surgical intervention in the form of partial excision/removal of the graft in endothelial keratoplasty or a full-thickness keratoplasty is often required for the effective management of deep-seated infections. Timely diagnosis and intervention may result in complete resolution of infection in both anterior lamellar and endothelial keratoplasty. Infections after anterior lamellar keratoplasty have a fair prognosis, and a clear graft with functional visual acuity may be achieved in most cases. By contrast, infections after endothelial keratoplasty have a guarded prognosis, and the presence of concomitant endophthalmitis may further complicate the graft survival and visual outcomes.

Keywords: anterior lamellar keratoplasty infections; anterior lamellar keratoplasty infectious keratitis; endothelial keratoplasty infections; endothelial keratoplasty infectious keratitis; post-lamellar keratoplasty infections.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Corneal Transplantation* / adverse effects
  • Endophthalmitis*
  • Eye Infections, Fungal* / diagnosis
  • Eye Infections, Fungal* / etiology
  • Eye Infections, Fungal* / therapy
  • Humans
  • Keratitis* / etiology
  • Keratitis* / microbiology
  • Keratoplasty, Penetrating / adverse effects
  • Visual Acuity