To assess the long-term outcome of epikeratophakia.
National center for pediatric ophthalmology (The Children’s Hospital) and ophthalmology department in a regional general hospital (Waterford Regional Hospital), Republic of Ireland.
A retrospective clinical review was carried out of 25 eyes (20 patients) with epikeratophakia performed over 10 years. Eyes were assigned to a children’s group (Group 1) or an adult group (Group 2), depending on patient age at the time of surgery, and assessed with respect to indication for surgery, visual acuity, condition of the implanted lenticule, complications, refraction, and corneal topography. Histological analysis was performed on 1 removed lenticule.
Mean follow-up of all patients was 7.3 years (median 6.8 years; range 4.0 to10.0 years). Most eyes (n = 18) were contact lens intolerant. Freeze-dried lenticules were implanted in all cases, and all but 1 had stable visual acuity from the early postoperative period to last follow-up. In Group 1 (n = 10), most eyes had a visual acuity of 6/36 or worse preoperatively with an improvement of 1 or more lines in 4 eyes. In Group 2 (n = 14), at last follow-up most eyes retained good or improved visual acuity by 1 or more lines. Most grafts were clear or had insignificant opacities outside the visual axis. The overall complication rate was 12%, with the most serious complication being significant induced astigmatism requiring removal of 1 epigraft. Mean induced astigmatism was 2.50 diopters (D) (median 2.00 D; range 1.00 to 6.00 D), which was accurately predicted within ±1.00 D by corneal topography in 14 of 19 eyes. Histology demonstrated infiltration of the implanted lenticule by host keratocytes.
Epikeratophakia, a reversible procedure with a low complication rate,resulted in stable visual acuity with good lenticule condition and minimal induced regular astigmatism after long-term follow-up.