The purpose of this study was to investigate the use of a serum-free derived cultivated conjunctival epithelial sheet for ocular surface transplantation and reconstruction.Methods.
Seven subjects with various ocular surface disorders were selected for the procedure: one patient had an extensive conjunctival nevus, three patients had pterygium, two patients had persistent leaking trabeculectomy blebs, and one patient had bilateral superior limbic keratoconjunctivitis. Conjunctival epithelial cells were harvested from the forniceal conjunctiva of patients 2 weeks before the definitive surgery. Cultivation of conjunctival epithelial cells on human amniotic membrane (HAM) was carried out under serum-free conditions. At the time of transplantation, the area of diseased conjunctiva was excised and the cultured conjunctival epithelium-HAM composite was transplanted onto the surgical defect. Patients were followed up with serial slit-lamp examinations, fluorescein staining, and photographic documentation.Results.
A confluent stratified conjunctival epithelial sheet was formed on the HAM within 12 to 14 days. Transplanted grafts remained well-epithelialized after surgery. A successful outcome, defined as resolution of the disease, maintenance of conjunctival epithelialization, maintenance of graft integrity, and absence of significant complications, was obtained in all seven patients. A good functional and cosmetic result was achieved in all eyes. The mean follow-up period was 11.6 months (range, 6–18 months).Conclusions.
Transplantation of a serum-free derived autologous cultivated conjunctival epithelial sheet on HAM was successfully performed in seven patients with ocular surface disorders. This may provide a novel method for conjunctival replacement in conditions where the normal conjunctiva is damaged or deficient.