Deep Anterior Lamellar Keratoplasty Combined With Autologous Limbal Stem Cell Transplantation in Unilateral Severe Chemical Injury

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Purpose:To evaluate the efficacy of deep anterior lamellar keratoplasty combined with autologous limbal stem cell transplantation for ocular surface reconstruction and visual rehabilitation in eyes with unilateral, late-stage, severe chemical injury.Methods:This was a retrospective, noncomparative, interventional case series that included 7 eyes of 7 patients, with severe unilateral late stage chemical injury, exhibiting corneal vascularization, conjunctivalization, and extensive corneal scarring were treated at the C. J. Shah Cornea Service, Sankara Nethralaya, a tertiary care center. Surgical procedures included releasing symblepharon adhesions, excising epibulbar fibrous tissue, superficial keratectomy to remove fibrovascular tissues over cornea, deep anterior lamellar dissection, grafting a lamellar corneal button, and transplanting autologous limbal graft, with or without amniotic membrane transplantation. The main outcome measures were relief of patient symptoms, postoperative recovery of the ocular surface, corneal clarity, corneal epithelial stability, and best corrected visual acuity.Results:The mean duration between the injury and surgery was 24.4 ± 21.8 months. No intraoperative complications were noted. Successful epithelialization was achieved in all eyes. The reconstructed corneal surface remained stable during the entire follow-up period (mean follow-up, 16.57 ± 5.12 months). All patients had resolution of ocular symptoms. Remarkable improvement in vision was noted in all (85.7%) except 1 eye in which recovery was limited due to amblyopia. The average best corrected visual acuity at last follow-up was 20/50. No complications were noted in the donor fellow eye.Conclusions:DALK combined with autologous limbal transplantation can restore a healthy, stable ocular surface, besides providing a clear cornea that remarkably improves the visual acuity, in patients with unilateral, late stage, severe chemical injury.

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