Pediatric Corneal Transplants: Review of Current Practice Patterns

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Abstract

Purpose:

To facilitate development of standardized guidelines for management of pediatric patients undergoing keratoplasty, particularly the youngest cohort, through a comprehensive survey assessing recent trends in practice patterns of corneal specialists and pediatric ophthalmologists.

Methods:

A cross-sectional, observational study of current practices pertaining to pediatric keratoplasty was performed by designing a 20-question survey focused on preoperative indications, surgical techniques, and postoperative management. This survey was sent electronically to corneal specialists and pediatric ophthalmologists. Results were compared with the findings of previous studies regarding pediatric keratoplasty.

Results:

Of the 80 ophthalmologists who responded, 51.3% currently perform pediatric keratoplasty; only 20% have performed >50 cases. The majority (73.8%) completed solely corneal fellowships; all perform penetrating keratoplasty, 35.2% also perform endothelial keratoplasty, and 37% also perform lamellar keratoplasty. Peters anomaly was the most common indication for transplantation (34.3%). The majority believe that 1 to 3 months is the optimal age range to perform keratoplasty for both monocular and binocular congenital corneal opacities, although 13% stated that they would never perform keratoplasty in a patient with a monocular opacity. All surgeons report modifying their intraoperative techniques for pediatric patients, but specific practices and postoperative management protocols vary. There is a consensus regarding the importance of amblyopia therapy in these patients.

Conclusions:

Our results were consistent with the published literature regarding the indication and types of surgery performed. Variability among surgical techniques and postoperative management protocols highlights the necessity of creating standardized guidelines to optimize management of pediatric patients undergoing keratoplasty. Collaborative efforts between corneal and pediatric specialists are crucial for defining visual rehabilitation protocols to enhance visual outcomes.

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