Pharmacologic strategies in the prevention and treatment of corneal transplant rejection

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Abstract

Corneal transplantation remains one of the most successful organ transplantation procedures in humans. The unique structure of the cornea, with its absence of blood vessels and corneal lymphatic, allows the survival of corneal allograft. Recent advances in sutures, storage media, microsurgical instrumentation, and new pharmacological strategies have greatly improved the success of corneal transplantation and the prevention of corneal allograft rejection. Our strategies in the management and prevention of corneal graft rejection can modify and improve the survival of corneal allografts. Preoperative evaluation, understanding the risk factors, and management of ocular surface disorders may greatly improve the survival of the corneal transplant. Early recognition of corneal allograft rejection and aggressive treatment may improve the survival of the corneal graft. Furthermore, patients who undergo corneal transplantation should be maintained under close ophthalmic surveillance and patients should be informed to report immediately whenever symptoms of corneal graft rejection occur. The mainstay of therapy is topical corticosteroids. In severe cases, periocular, intravenous, and oral corticosteroids therapy can be rendered. New therapeutic modalities such as cyclosporine, tacrolimus, daclizumab, mycophenolate mofetil, leflunomide, rapamycin, and others may prove to be of help in the prevention and treatment of corneal graft rejection. Early recognition of corneal graft rejection and prompt treatment are mandatory for the successful survival of the corneal allograft.

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