Descemetorhexis Without Graft Placement for the Treatment of Fuchs Endothelial Dystrophy: Preliminary Results and Review of the Literature

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Purpose:To report our preliminary experience with a central descemetorhexis without graft placement in Fuchs endothelial corneal dystrophy (FECD) and to review the existing literature on the topic.Methods:A 4-mm central descemetorhexis was performed in 5 patients (4 women, 1 man; mean age: 69.8 ± 8.6 yrs; range: 57–78 yrs) with FECD. All patients had central confluent guttae, undetectable central endothelial cell count, healthy peripheral corneal endothelium, no clinically evident bullous keratopathy, and no ocular comorbidities. In 3 patients, the procedure was combined with phacoemulsification and intraocular lens implantation.Results:All patients completed at least 6 months of postoperative follow-up (mean follow-up 9 ± 2.5 mo; 7–13 mo). Endothelial repopulation of the central stroma was completed in all patients by the third month. Corneal clarity was achieved in 4 of 5 patients. The patient with persistent edema and haze had the highest preoperative central pachymetry. A final improvement in corrected visual acuity was achieved in 4/5 patients. A reduction in preoperative central pachymetry was observed in all cases. All patients developed deep stromal opacities around the margin of the descemetorhexis, which did not resolve over the follow-up time. Abnormal corneal topography and irregular astigmatism developed in 3 of 5 patients; these patients achieved 20/20 corrected distance visual acuity with rigid gas-permeable contact lens fitting.Conclusions:In partial concordance with previous studies, preliminary outcomes of a central descemetorhexis in FECD performed without endothelial graft placement seemed rather unpredictable. Baring of central stroma may trigger a variable wound-healing response with subsequent posterior stromal scarring and topographical irregularity.

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