Case Series: Keratolimbal Allograft as a Patch Graft for Glaucoma Drainage Devices

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Tube exposure remains one of the most common complications after glaucoma drainage device (GDD) implantation, despite various types of patch grafts available today. We present a 4 patient case series following the effectivity of the keratolimbal allograft (KLAL) as a patch graft for cases of tube exposure. Given its inherent population of stem cells, our hypothesis was that this highly replicative, biological tissue would provide an adequate means of glaucoma tube coverage. The subset of patients chosen for the KLAL patch graft all had a history of abnormally scarred conjunctiva or thin sclera. The aim of utilizing the KLAL patch with its associated donor conjunctival and scleral ring was also to provide additional reinforcement and adequate tube coverage in the setting of compromised native tissue.


Four patients comprised of 2 males and 2 females with a minimum postoperative period of 12 months. All GDDs were initially implanted with a limbal-based incision using either Ahmed glaucoma valve or Baerveldt drainage implant. Three of the 4 patients received the KLAL patch graft after tube exposure with scleral patch graft and 1 patient received KLAL as the primary graft during initial tube placement.


Two of the 4 eyes experienced tube re-exposure postoperatively at 2 and 3 months, respectively. Both of these cases had a history of prior tube exposure after scleral patch graft and both were tubes placed in the pars plana. Interestingly, the patients with failed grafts were younger with a history of more ocular surgeries as compared with the patients with graft viable eyes.


Through our case series, we found that the KLAL utilized as a patch graft over GDD tubes has the potential for favorable outcomes in certain subtypes of eyes. Although further large scale investigation will be necessary to better define the risk factors associated with graft failure, proving the graft’s viability is a crucial first step.

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