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Eye (Lond). 2006 May;20(5):527-32.

Comparative cohort study of the outcomes of deep lamellar keratoplasty and penetrating keratoplasty for keratoconus.

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Department of Ophthalmology, Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust, Leeds, UK.



To compare the outcomes and complications of deep lamellar keratoplasty (DLK) and penetrating keratoplasty (PK) for keratoconus.


A cohort of 20 consecutive PKs, for keratoconus, was compared with 20 consecutive DLKs, for keratoconus. The PKs were performed between June 2000 and July 2001, the DLKs between October 2001 and October 2002. Surgery was performed by one surgeon. Best-corrected visual acuities (BCVA), refraction and complications were recorded at the time of surgery, 6 and 12 months postoperatively. chi(2)-tests were used to compare visual acuity outcomes and independent t-tests in the analysis of astigmatism.


Groups were comparable for age, sex, and ethnicity. All PKs were uncomplicated. Two of the DLK group had microperforations of Descemet's membrane. There was no significant difference in the proportion of patients achieving 6/9 or better between the PK and DLK groups (85 vs 78%, P=0.54). PK patients were, however, more likely than the DLKs to achieve 6/6 at 1 year; 70% (14/20) of PKs compared to 22% of (4/18) DLKs (P=0.04). Astigmatism was significantly higher in the PKs compared to the DLKs (P=0.022). There were two cases of graft rejection in the PK group, while none in the DLKs.


This study confirms good visual results from both PK and DLK in keratoconus with similarly high percentages reaching 6/9 BCVA. DLK appears to cause less astigmatism and also has the advantage of no endothelial graft rejection. The apparent cost, however, is a reduction in the likelihood of achieving 6/6 BCVA.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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