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Cornea. 2007 Jul;26(6):670-4.

Visual acuity, refractive error, and endothelial cell density six months after Descemet stripping and automated endothelial keratoplasty (DSAEK).

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Eye Institute, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI 53226, USA.



To evaluate visual acuity, refractive outcomes, and endothelial cell density 6 months after Descemet stripping and automated endothelial keratoplasty (DSAEK).


We performed an institutional review board-approved prospective study of a surgical case series of 34 patients at 2 institutions undergoing DSAEK for Fuchs endothelial dystrophy, pseudophakic bullous keratopathy, or aphakic bullous keratopathy with or without simultaneous phacoemulsification and intraocular lens implantation. Clinical outcomes, including best spectacle-corrected visual acuity (BSCVA), spherical equivalent refraction, and refractive astigmatism and topographic or keratometric astigmatism, were assessed at the 6-month postoperative examination and compared with preoperative values with paired Student t tests. The change in endothelial cell density from the eye bank examination to 6 months after transplantation was similarly evaluated.


BSCVA averaged 20/99 preoperatively and 20/42 postoperatively (P < 0.0001). After DSAEK, 30 (88.2%) of 34 patients showed improved BSCVA, and 21 (61.8%) of the 34 patients achieved a BSCVA of 20/40 or better. For patients not undergoing simultaneous phacoemulsification and intraocular lens implantation, a hyperopic shift in refraction of 1.19 +/- 1.32 D was noted. Refractive astigmatism, topographic astigmatism, and keratometry showed no statistically significant change. Endothelial cell density of donor corneas averaged 2826 +/- 370 cells/mm, whereas the mean postoperative density was 1396 +/- 440 cells/mm. This finding corresponded to an average loss of 1426 cells/mm (50% loss; P = 0.0001). The first half of cases experienced an average cell loss of 1674 cells/mm (59% loss) compared with 1181 (41% loss) in the second half of cases (P = 0.005). Three (9%) of 34 grafts experienced iatrogenic graft failure and required reoperation with new donor tissue. Also, 9 (27%) of 34 grafts experienced dislocation in the early postoperative period and required repositioning.


In this prospective study of DSAEK for bullous keratopathy and Fuchs endothelial corneal dystrophy, improvement of visual acuity was achieved with only a mild tendency toward hyperopic shift and without significant induced astigmatism. Endothelial cell loss was significant, however, and may be related to surgical experience.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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