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Br J Ophthalmol. 2005 Apr;89(4):404-8.

The indications and outcome of paediatric corneal transplantation in New Zealand: 1991-2003.

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Department of Ophthalmology, Private Bag 92019, Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand.



To evaluate patient characteristics, indications, surgical details, and outcome of paediatric keratoplasty in New Zealand.


As part of a prospective longitudinal study, paediatric keratoplasty data collected by the New Zealand National Eye Bank (NZNEB) was analysed for the 13 year period 1991-2003.


During the study period the NZNEB supplied 2547 corneas for keratoplasty, of which 65 (3%) were used for paediatric patients (14 years or younger). The 65 keratoplasties were performed in 58 eyes of 52 patients (66% male, 34% female, mean age 10.6 years, SD 4.3 years). Indications were classified into three groups: congenital (16%, n = 9), acquired non-traumatic (74%, n = 43), and acquired traumatic (10%, n = 6). Peters' anomaly (7% of total), keratoconus (67%), and penetrating trauma (8%) were the most common indications in each group, respectively. 82% of keratoplasties with known outcome survived (clear graft) 1 year postoperatively, 16% failed, and one patient died. Keratoplasty for congenital indications had a lower 1 year survival rate (78%) compared to acquired non-traumatic (85%) and traumatic (100%) indications, although the difference was not statistically significant (p = 0.65). 38% of patients with known outcome had a 1 year postoperative best corrected Snellen visual acuity (BCSVA) of 6/9 or better, and 60% had a BCSVA of 6/18 or better. Visual outcome was significantly better for acquired compared to congenital indications (p = 0.03).


Analysis of the NZNEB database provided valuable information in relation to paediatric keratoplasty in New Zealand. In particular, this study highlighted an unusually high prevalence of keratoconus as an indication for keratoplasty. In addition, a high 1 year survival rate and good visual outcome were identified, especially in cases of keratoplasty for acquired conditions.

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