Use of Donor Corneas From Pseudophakic Eyes for Descemet Membrane Endothelial Keratoplasty

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Abstract

Purpose:

The prevalence of pseudophakia increases with age and affects more than 30% of people older than 80 years. Because grafts from older donors seem to be more suitable for Descemet membrane endothelial keratoplasty (DMEK) surgery rather than grafts from younger donors, eye bank technicians and corneal surgeons have to deal with corneas from pseudophakic donors for DMEK graft preparation. However, graft preparation from corneas of pseudophakic donors can be more complicated.

Methods:

We retrospectively analyzed our donor registry for the prevalence of pseudophakia. We compared grafts from phakic and pseudophakic donors concerning graft survival, rebubbling rates, and endothelial cell loss after DMEK surgery.

Results:

More than 20% of our donors were pseudophakic, of which 35% were primarily suitable for transplantation. Regarding the comparison of grafts from phakic and pseudophakic donors used for DMEK, we observed comparable survival rates (90% after 3 years) and similar endothelial cell loss (30% with an endothelial cell density above 1000 cell/mm2 after 3 years) but significantly lower rebubbling rates for grafts from pseudophakic donors (18% vs. 28%).

Conclusions:

Our data strongly suggest that pseudophakic persons should not be excluded from corneal donation because success rates after DMEK with grafts from pseudophakic eyes are comparable to those with grafts from phakic eyes. However, in the eye bank, grafts from pseudophakic donors have a higher primary discard rate because of low endothelial cell counts.

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