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Am J Ophthalmol. 2008 Dec;146(6):905-12.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.ajo.2008.06.034. Epub 2008 Aug 23.

Comparison of three different techniques of corneal transplantation for keratoconus.

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  • 1Ophthalmology Department, Toronto Western Hospital, University of Toronto, University Health Network, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. iritbahar@yahoo.com



To compare the visual outcomes following deep anterior lamellar keratoplasty (DALK), penetrating keratoplasty (PK), and manual top-hat PK (TH-PK) in subjects undergoing corneal transplantation for keratoconus (KC).


A retrospective comparative case series.


settings: Cornea clinic at the Toronto Western Hospital. study population: Fifty patients who underwent corneal transplantation for KC: 17 eyes underwent DALK, 20 eyes underwent traditional PK, and 13 had TH-PK. main outcome measures: Preoperative and postoperative uncorrected and best spectacle-corrected visual acuity (UCVA, BSCVA), high-order aberrations (HOA), complication rate, and endothelial cell counts.


The median BSCVA at 12 months follow-up was 20/40 in the DALK eyes and 20/30 in the traditional PK and TH-PK eyes. The mean final spherical equivalent power in the three groups was less than -1 diopter (D). The median astigmatism was less than 3.5 D in the three groups. Complication rates were similar for three groups, although the DALK group tended toward more complications. Although DALK and TH-PK procedure results in significantly shorter time to suture removal (P < .01), they caused increased levels of HOAs (P = .02). Endothelial cell counts at 12 months were significantly higher in DALK and TH-PK eyes when compared to the traditional PK eyes (P < .001).


DALK, PK, and TH-PK provide comparable visual outcomes in keratoconus patients. Although DALK and TH-PK induce more HOA, they speed up the time to suture removal and provide higher endothelial cell density at one year of follow-up.

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