To evaluate indications and outcomes of pediatric keratoplasty in a tertiary eye center, and identify factors that affect visual outcomes.
We performed a retrospective review of penetrating keratoplasty in children aged 0 to 18 years between 1995 and 2011 in the Asociación para Evitar la Ceguera en México IAP, Hospital “Dr. Luis Sánchez Bulnes”.
A total of 574 penetrating keratoplasties were performed during the study interval. Median follow-up was 5.0 years. Main indications included keratoconus (55.58%), postherpetic scarring (9.58%), traumatic opacities (7.49%), and bullous keratopathy (6.09%). Rejection rates at 5 years were 27% overall, and among indications, keratoconus showed the best graft survival at 60-months follow-up (85%). The percentage of patients with best corrected visual acuity (BCVA) posttransplant >20/400 at 5 years in the nonrejection group was 81.25% and 82.74% in < and > 10 years of age (YOA) groups, respectively, versus a BCVA posttransplant > 20/400 at 5 years in the rejection group of 53.68% and 51.72% in < and > 10 YOA groups, respectively. There was a statistically significant reduced rejection rate between genders at 18 months of follow-up, favoring males.
Despite being considered a high-risk procedure in children, penetrating keratoplasty can achieve good results, especially in patients with keratoconus. It can achieve significative improvements of visual acuity, provided there is an adequate follow-up and treatment adherence.