Purpose: Although penetrating keratoplasty is an established surgical procedure, it often is ineffective for severe ocular surface diseases such as alkali burns or limbal deficiency. The authors have performed limbal allograft transplantation for the reconstruction of the corneal epithelium.
Methods: A total of nine patients (3 with chemical injury, 3 with limbal deficiency with unknown etiology, 2 with moderate ocular pemphigoid [OCP], and 1 with traumatic limbal deficiency) were treated by limbal allograft transplantation. Penetrating keratoplasties were performed in all patients with the exception of one with OCP. Patients received cyclosporine both systemically (10 mg/kg) and topically (0.05%) as well as high-dose intravenous dexamethasone (8 mg).
Results: The corneal epithelium was reconstructed in all patients, although two showed partial increased fluorescein permeability and two others required a second surgery. The other five epithelia remained clear at mean follow-up of 12.3 months, with two episodes of graft rejection which were controlled successfully by medication.
Conclusions: Limbal allograft transplantation with intensive immunosuppression by cyclosporine and high-dose steroids appears to be a promising surgical intervention for the reconstruction of corneas affected by severe ocular surface disease.