Outcomes of Keratoplasty After Ocular Surface Stem Cell Transplantation

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To investigate the long-term outcomes of penetrating keratoplasty (PK) and deep anterior lamellar keratoplasty (DALK) after ocular surface stem cell transplantation (OSST).


An observational retrospective review was performed on all patients who underwent OSST followed by either PK or DALK with a minimum of 6-month follow-up.


One hundred two eyes fulfilled the inclusion criteria. The mean time to keratoplasty after OSST was 19 months, and the mean follow-up was 57 months after keratoplasty. A Kaplan–Meier analysis demonstrated 92% graft survival at year 1, 77% at year 2, 62% at year 3, 55% at year 4, and 54% at year 5. During the study period, a total of 44 grafts failed. The mean time to graft failure was 32 months. Preoperative median best-corrected visual acuity for all eyes was 20/550, which improved to 20/100 (P < 0.001) at 1 year postoperatively, 20/60 (P < 0.001) at 2 years, and 20/100 (P < 0.001) at last follow-up.


Without addressing the underlying stem cell deficiency, keratoplasty in patients with total limbal stem cell deficiency will ultimately fail in all cases. OSST with either subsequent PK or DALK provides successful visual outcomes with an acceptable complication profile.

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