Fuchs corneal dystrophy (FD) is a common cause of endothelial keratoplasty. Recently, a series of FD cases treated with Descemet stripping only (DSO) demonstrated recovery of the central endothelium without transplantation of donor cells. Ripasudil, a rho kinase inhibitor, has been shown to promote corneal endothelial wound healing in animal models. This study prospectively evaluated the use of ripasudil in patients undergoing DSO for FD.
Enrolled patients underwent DSO with or without cataract surgery, performed by 1 surgeon. On the first postoperative day, patients were assigned to topical ripasudil 0.4% (Glanatec) 4 times a day for 2 months or no ripasudil and followed up monthly for the first 6 months and then at 9 and 12 months after surgery. Endothelial cell density (ECD) and pachymetry were evaluated at each postoperative visit.
Eighteen patients were enrolled, including 8 women and 1 man in each group. Overall, patients who underwent DSO with ripasudil recovered vision more quickly (4.6 vs. 6.5 weeks, P < 0.01). In addition, the ripasudil group had a statistically significantly higher average ECD at 3, 6, and 12 months. The patients in the DSO observation group had a 10% decrease in peripheral ECD when comparing counts before surgery with counts 12 months after surgery (P < 0.05). In the DSO ripasudil group, there was no significant difference between peripheral ECD at preoperative baseline versus 12 months after surgery.
DSO with topical rho kinase inhibitors may be an alternative treatment for patients with FD and a peripheral ECD greater than 1000 cells/mm2.