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How Much Progress Has Been Made in Corneal Transplantation?

Shimazaki, Jun MD, PhD; Ishii, Nobuhito MD; Shinzawa, Megumi MD; Yamaguchi, Takefumi MD, PhD; Shimazaki-Den, Seika MD, PhD; Satake, Yoshiyuki MD, PhD

doi: 10.1097/ICO.0000000000000604

Abstract: To assess the benefits of component lamellar corneal surgery, we investigated the surgical outcomes of deep anterior lamellar keratoplasty (DALK) for keratoconus and Descemet stripping automated endothelial keratoplasty (DSAEK) for laser iridotomy-induced bullous keratopathy (LI-BK). The results were compared with the surgical outcomes of penetrating keratoplasty (PKP). Seventy-nine eyes with keratoconus treated with DALK and 81 eyes with LI-BK treated with DSAEK were studied, and the graft clarity rate, best spectacle-corrected visual acuity, endothelial cell density (ECD), and surgical complications were compared with 273 eyes with keratoconus and 98 eyes with LI-BK all treated with PKP. Keratoconus eyes showed excellent visual outcomes with DALK and PKP, but graft survival was higher for PKP (100%, 98.9%, and 96.3% vs. 98.6%, 90.6%, and 86.1%, at 1, 3, and 5 years after surgery, respectively; P < 0.0001). There were no significant differences in the ECD up to 1 year after surgery. Greater ECD decline was observed for PKP at 3 and 5 years after surgery. Descemet membrane microperforation was observed in 49 eyes treated with DALK. Postoperative complications in eyes treated with PKP were increased incidence of immunological rejection and secondary glaucoma compared with eyes treated with DALK. LI-BK graft survival rates were excellent in both groups (DSAEK: 89.6% and 86.1%; PKP: 100% and 98.6%, 1- and 2-year rates, respectively; P = 0.17). Best spectacle-corrected visual acuity was better in the DSAEK group, and ECD showed a higher rate of decrease with DSAEK than with PKP. DALK and DSAEK considerably improved surgical outcomes in eyes with keratoconus and those with LI-BK, respectively. However, several key areas require further work, including development of safe surgical methods in DALK and prevention of early postoperative ECD loss in DSAEK.

Department of Ophthalmology, Tokyo Dental College Ichikawa General Hospital, Chiba, Japan.

Reprints: Jun Shimazaki, MD, PhD, Department of Ophthalmology, Tokyo Dental College Ichikawa General Hospital, 5-11-13 Sugano, Ichikawa, Chiba 272-8513, Japan (e-mail:

The authors have no funding or conflicts of interest to disclose.

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