Deep anterior lamellar keratoplasty and penetrating keratoplasty in macular corneal dystrophy: comparison of visual and topographic outcomes and complications

Arq Bras Oftalmol. 2024 Mar 22;87(3):e20230109. doi: 10.5935/0004-2749.2023-0109. eCollection 2024.


Purposes: This study aims to assess and compare the postoperative visual and topographic outcomes, complications, and graft survival rates following deep anterior lamellar keratoplasty and penetrating keratoplasty in patients with macular corneal dystrophy.

Methods: In this study we enrolled 59 patients (23 male; and 36 female) with macular corneal dystrophy comprising 81 eyes. Out of these, 64 eyes underwent penetrating keratoplasty, while 17 eyes underwent deep anterior lamellar keratoplasty. The two groups were analyzed and compared based on best-corrected visual acuity, corneal tomography parameters, pachymetry, complication rates, and graft survival rates.

Results: After 12 months, 70.6% of the patients who underwent deep anterior lamellar keratoplasty (DALK) and 75% of those who had penetrating keratoplasty (PK) achieved a best-corrected visual acuity of 20/40 or better (p=0.712). Following surgery, DALK group showed lower front Kmean (p=0.037), and Q values (p<0.01) compared to the PK group. Postoperative interface opacity was observed in seven eyes (41.2%) in the DALK group. Other topography values and other complications (graft rejection, graft failure, cataract, glaucoma, microbial keratitis, optic atrophy) did not show significant differences between the two groups. The need for regrafting was 9.4% and 11.8% in the PK and DALK groups, respectively (p=0.769). Graft survival rates were 87.5% and 88.2% for PK and DALK; respectively (p=0.88 by Log-rank test).

Conclusion: Both PK and DALK are equally effective in treating macular corneal dystrophy, showing similar visual, topographic, and survival outcomes. Although interface opacity occurs more frequently after DALK the visual results were comparable in both groups. Therefore, DALK emerges as a viable surgical choice for patients with macular corneal dystrophy without Descemet membrane involvement is absent.

MeSH terms

  • Corneal Dystrophies, Hereditary* / surgery
  • Corneal Transplantation* / adverse effects
  • Corneal Transplantation* / methods
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Keratoconus* / surgery
  • Keratoplasty, Penetrating / adverse effects
  • Keratoplasty, Penetrating / methods
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Visual Acuity