Objective To evaluate Descemet membrane endothelial keratoplasty for management of corneal endothelial disorders.
Methods Descemet membrane endothelial keratoplasty was performed in 200 patients with Fuchs endothelial dystrophy or bullous keratopathy. Best-corrected visual acuity, subjective and objective refractive outcome and stability, and endothelial cell density were evaluated at 1, 3, and 6 months postoperatively, and intraoperative and postoperative complications were documented.
Results At 6 months, 94% reached a best-corrected visual acuity of 20/40 or better (≥0.5); 77%, 20/25 or better (≥0.8); 47%, 20/20 or better (≥1.0), and 16%, 20/17 or better (≥1.2) (n = 159). The preoperative to 6 months' postoperative spherical equivalent showed a mean (SD) +0.38 (1.2) diopter hyperopic shift (P = .001) that correlated with a decrease in central corneal thickness (n = 143) (P = .047). Two-thirds of eyes showed refractive stability at 3 months. Donor endothelial cell density showed a decrease from mean (SD) 2560 (186) cells/mm2 preoperatively to 1690 (520) cells/mm2 at 6 months after surgery (n = 173) (P < .001). Graft detachment was the main complication and occurred in 18 eyes (9%). Recipient Descemet membrane remnants were present in 12 eyes (6%). Secondary glaucoma was seen in 8 eyes (4%), of which 4 showed air-bubble dislocation behind the iris. In 2 of 33 phakic eyes (6%), a secondary cataract developed requiring phacoemulsification.
Conclusions Descemet membrane endothelial keratoplasty may offer complete visual rehabilitation within 1 to 6 months after surgery in a majority of eyes. Similar to earlier keratoplasty techniques, Descemet membrane endothelial keratoplasty may be associated with a one-third decrease in donor endothelial cell density in the early postoperative phase. Incidence of (partial) graft detachment stabilized at about 5% but could be further reduced by patient selection and/or technique modification.
Trial Registration clinicaltrials.gov Identifier: NCT00521898