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Cornea. 2002 Mar;21(2):152-5.

Indications for corneal transplantation in New Zealand: 1991-1999.

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Discipline of Ophthalmology, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Auckland, New Zealand.



To identify the indications for keratoplasty in patients supplied with donor tissue through the New Zealand National Eye Bank.


Analysis of penetrating and lamellar keratoplasty data collected by the New Zealand National Eye Bank, Auckland, from 1991 to 1999.


In this 9-year period, donor material was supplied for 1370 corneal grafts; 1308 for penetrating keratoplasty, 26 for lamellar keratoplasty, and 36 for unspecified grafts. This accounts for a minimum of 85% of the penetrating keratoplasties performed in New Zealand from 1991 to 1999. The leading indications for penetrating keratoplasty were keratoconus (45.6%), pseudophakic or aphakic corneal edema (17.9%), regraft (8.7%), viral keratitis (7.3%), and trauma (5.5%). The average age of patients was 47.5 years (SD = 22.6) and age distribution was bimodal, with peaks in the 3rd and 8th decades. Keratoconus, regraft, and trauma were significantly more common as indicators for penetrating keratoplasty in male patients than female patients; however, pseudophakic or aphakic corneal edema was more common in female patients.


The majority of transplantation surgery in New Zealand is performed using corneal tissue from the New Zealand National Eye Bank. In this representative study, keratoconus is the leading indicator for penetrating keratoplasty in New Zealand, accounting for a higher proportion than in any other published literature. The other indications, age distribution and gender differences correlate with previous reports. These findings suggest that keratoconus leading to transplantation may have increased prevalence in New Zealand.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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