Corneal Transplantation in Auckland, New Zealand, 1999–2009: Indications, Patient Characteristics, Ethnicity, Social Deprivation, and Access to Services

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Abstract

Purpose:

To analyze characteristics and indications for corneal transplantation in patients undergoing penetrating, lamellar, and endothelial keratoplasty in Auckland, New Zealand (NZ).

Methods:

Corneal transplantation data from the NZ National Eye Bank and hospital records of corneal transplant recipients in the Auckland region from January 1, 2000, to December 31, 2009, were collated. Patient demographics, preoperative diagnosis, indication, ocular and medical history, visual acuity, deprivation index, and access to transplantation surgery were analyzed.

Results:

A total of 941 corneal transplants involving 770 patients were included for analysis. Mean age was 46 years. Age and ethnicity varied according to the transplant indication. A male preponderance and disproportionally high rates of Māori and Pacific ethnicity with a mean age of 30 years were observed in transplants for keratoconus. A total of 67.2% of corneal transplants were completed in the public health system and were associated with higher levels of deprivation than those completed in private facilities. Preoperative visual acuity varied according to the transplant type and indication. The most common clinical indication for corneal transplantation was keratoconus (41.3%), followed by repeat transplantation (21.0%). There was no significant change in the relative proportion of transplant indications in any year over the duration of this study (P = 0.41). A contralateral corneal transplant was present in 24.4% and glaucoma in 12.8% of penetrating keratoplasty recipients.

Conclusions:

Keratoconus is the leading indication for corneal transplantation in Auckland, NZ, and involves a disproportionately high rate of Māori and Pacific transplant recipients with a male preponderance and comparatively low mean age at the time of surgery.

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