To study the change in contrast sensitivities in eyes with Fuchs endothelial dystrophy and bullous keratopathy after Descemet membrane endothelial keratoplasty (DMEK).
In this prospective study, 50 pseudophakic eyes of 50 patients who received DMEK surgery at the Charité—Universitätsmedizin Berlin were included. Visual acuity; contrast sensitivity using OPTEC 6500 at spatial frequencies of 1.5, 3, 6, 12, and 18 cycles/degree in photopic and mesopic light with and without glare; central corneal thickness (CCT); and anterior and posterior corneal aberrations were measured preoperatively and at 3 and 12 months postoperatively.
Best-corrected visual acuity (preoperative 0.67 ± 0.46 and after 12 months 0.19 ± 0.16 LogMAR, P < 0.001) and photopic and mesopic contrast sensitivities with and without glare improved significantly, whereas CCT decreased significantly (preoperative 677 ± 114 μm, after 12 months 527 ± 29 μm, P < 0.001). Preoperative CCT correlates significantly with preoperative photopic contrast sensitivity (correlation coefficient −0.462, P = 0.002), and postoperative total anterior aberrations correlates with postoperative photopic contrast sensitivity (correlation coefficient −0.361, P = 0.006).
Photopic and mesopic contrast sensitivities, especially with glare, are impaired in patients with Fuchs endothelial dystrophy and bullous keratopathy. The extent of the corneal thickening seems to mainly influence the contrast sensitivity preoperatively. DMEK surgery improves the contrast sensitivity significantly. However, higher postoperative anterior corneal aberrations limit the postoperative contrast sensitivities.