Cultivated Corneal Epithelial Transplantation for Severe Ocular Surface Disease in Vernal Keratoconjunctivitis

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Purpose:To report cultivated epithelial transplantation in 2 patients with vernal keratoconjunctivitis (VKC) with severe ocular surface disease.Methods:Two patients initially diagnosed with burnt-out VKC presented with bilateral photophobia, decreased vision, and corneal neovascularization. The first patient underwent living-related conjunctival-limbal allograft in the left eye and cultivated limbal epithelial cell allotransplant in the right. The second patient underwent unsuccessful amniotic membrane transplantation (AMT) followed by autologous cultivated limbal epithelial cell transplantation in the worse eye.Results:Both patients had onset of VKC in the first decade. Surgical intervention in both led to marked amelioration in symptoms and improvement in vision. In patient 1, vision improved from 20/800 (both eyes) to 20/30 in the right and 20/100 in the left eye at a follow-up of 34 months. In patient 2, it improved from 20/400 to 20/50 after the second procedure, 25 months postoperatively. Histopathology of the excised pannus revealed fibrosis and mononuclear cell infiltrates in all 3 eyes.Conclusions:Severe ocular surface disease may occur in persistent VKC, leading to marked visual loss. AMT alone may be insufficient to restore the ocular surface, and limbal epithelial cell transplantation is warranted.

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