Management of Intra-Descemet Membrane Air Bubble in Big-Bubble Deep Anterior Lamellar Keratoplasty

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To report the recognition and management of intra-Descemet membrane air bubble (IDMA) as a complication of big-bubble deep anterior lamellar keratoplasty (DALK).


IDMA was present intraoperatively in 8 eyes after DALK. Indications for surgery were healed keratitis (n = 4), macular dystrophy (n = 2), and keratoconus (n = 2). The IDMA was present between the anterior banded layer and posterior nonbanded layer of Descemet membrane (DM). They were slid and displaced toward the peripheral cornea using 27-gauge cannula and punctured taking care that underlying DM was not ruptured.


DM was bared in all eyes, and DALK was completed in 7 cases. One patient required conversion to penetrating keratoplasty because of macroperforation. No case had double anterior chamber. Mean follow-up was 13.9 ± 4.1 months. A DM fold was noted in 1 eye. Seven cases had postoperative best-corrected visual acuity of 20/60 or better.


Prompt recognition of the IDMA intraoperatively is required, which can be managed successfully.

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