Purpose: A multicenter study was undertaken to delineate the indications for and outcome of pediatric keratoplasty.
Methods: The authors retrospectively studied 164 grafts in 131 eyes of 108 children younger than 12 years of age, with an average follow-up of 45 months. Multivariate linear and logistic regression was performed to evaluate potential risk factors for poor visual outcome and graft failure. Graft survival was depicted in terms of the Kaplan-Meier survival curve.
Results: Corneal opacities were grouped into three diagnostic categories: congenital (64%), traumatic (17%), and acquired nontraumatic (19%) opacities. Overall graft survival was 80% at 12 months and 67% at 24 months postoperatively. There was no significant difference in retention of clarity among diagnostic groups. Vitrectomy-lensectomy, regrafts, and postoperative complications were associated significantly with poor allograft survival. Eighteen percent of all eyes had worse vision at the time of the last visit than preoperatively. Amblyopia treatment was the only independently significant prognosticator for visual improvement after surgery. Timing of keratoplasty was not demonstrated to be associated with visual outcome. Visual acuity in 33% of eyes that could be quantified was better than 20/200 at the last visit, whereas 62% of eyes retained full graft clarity.
Conclusion: The authors conclude that keratoplasty can be successful in most children, especially when combined with appropriate amblyopia management.