Immunization-Associated Corneal Transplantation Rejection: A Review

Cornea. 2022 May 1;41(5):660-663. doi: 10.1097/ICO.0000000000002898.


Purpose: The purpose of this review was to examine and characterize the available literature regarding immunization-associated corneal graft rejection.

Methods: A Literature search was conducted using PubMed keywords relevant to corneal transplantation, graft rejection, and immunization to find relevant publications through July 2021. Nine studies were included in this review. Data including patient demographics, type of transplant, chronology of disease, type of immunization, treatment, and outcomes were evaluated.

Results: Twenty-three cases of corneal graft rejection associated temporally with immunizations have been described in the literature. Most of these patients were female, and most commonly had received the influenza vaccine before the rejection episode. Most episodes resulted in graft preservation with intensive corticosteroid therapy.

Conclusions: Immunization-associated corneal graft rejection is a rare but likely underreported phenomenon. Patients and surgeons should be aware of this possible risk, although the evidence is inconclusive. Conclusions are limited because of the small sample size and the retrospective nature of all existing literature on this subject. Surgeons should be encouraged to document and report these episodes.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Corneal Diseases*
  • Corneal Transplantation* / adverse effects
  • Female
  • Graft Rejection / etiology
  • Graft Rejection / prevention & control
  • Graft Survival
  • Humans
  • Immunization
  • Retrospective Studies