Purpose: The aim of this study was to describe the clinicopathologic correlation of textural interface opacities (TIOs) in a Descemet stripping automated endothelial keratoplasty (DSAEK) donor button after its removal.
Methods: A 75-year-old woman underwent combined phacoemulsification with intraocular lens placement and DSAEK in her right eye. She had TIOs 1 week postoperatively and continued to have poor visual acuity 8 months postoperatively. The original DSAEK graft was removed, and a repeat DSAEK procedure with a new donor disc was performed. A control corneal button was obtained from a 79-year-old woman who suffered chronic rejection and had a failed DSAEK. Both corneal specimens were sent for light and electron microscopy.
Results: Light microscopy of the donor tissue from the patient with TIOs showed stromal irregularities projecting from the cut anterior surface and the expected decrease in the endothelial cell density associated with the procedure and with artifacts. Electron microscopy examination showed irregular collagen fibrils of varying lengths at the stromal surface. Light and electron microscopy examination of the donor tissue from the control patient showed a smooth anterior stromal surface without projecting collagen fibrils.
Conclusions: The histopathology of the endothelial disc from the patient with TIOs demonstrated variably irregular lamellae that extended from the anterior donor corneal stromal surface. These extending lamellae were absent on the anterior stromal surface of the control corneal disc, suggesting that they are one possible cause of TIOs and the subsequent suboptimal best-corrected visual acuity and quality of vision experienced by a subset of DSAEK-operated patients.