Purpose: The aim of this study is to compare long-term visual and surgical outcomes after performing deep anterior lamellar keratoplasty (DALK) and penetrating keratoplasty (PK) for keratoconus.
Methods: This is a retrospective review of 73 consecutive patients with keratoconus, managed with DALK or PK, between 2000 and 2010, by a single surgeon. Data were collected on baseline parameters, best-corrected visual acuity (BCVA) in logarithm of the mean angle of resolution (logMAR), subjective refraction, graft survival, and complications.
Results: Thirty-one (42.5%) eyes underwent a DALK, and 42 (57.5%) eyes underwent a PK. All PK-operated and 29 out of 31 (93.5%) DALK-operated eyes remained clear at the last review. Postoperative complications were significantly more frequent after PK (57.1%) than after DALK (26.5%; P = 0.0197). The mean BCVA was not significantly different for DALK (0.14 logMAR, SD 0.2) versus PK (0.05 logMAR, SD 0.11); however, eyes that underwent PK were more likely to achieve a BCVA of 0.0 logMAR (P = 0.0029). Subjective refraction and method of visual correction (spectacles or contact lenses) were similar for each group.
Conclusions: DALK-operated patients in this study showed similar graft survival, fewer postoperative complications, and equivalent refractive outcomes. No significant difference in the mean BCVA was noted between DALK and PK cases.