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Am J Ophthalmol. 2010 Dec;150(6):894-904. doi: 10.1016/j.ajo.2010.05.010.

Long-term follow-up after submandibular gland transplantation in severe dry eyes secondary to cicatrizing conjunctivitis.

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Centro Grandi Apparecchiature, Seconda Universita degli Studi di Napoli, Napoli, Italy.



To evaluate the long-term results of autologous submandibular gland transplantation in eyes with cicatrizing conjunctivitis and to determine biomechanical and biochemical features of the resulting salivary tear film.


Prospective, observational case series.


Fifteen eyes with cicatrizing conjunctivitis with a viable autologous submandibular gland transplantation were compared with 10 eyes with cicatrizing conjunctivitis and a failed submandibular gland transplantation or no submandibular gland transplantation. Best-corrected visual acuity, frequency of tear substitute instillation, severity of dry eye discomfort, lid margin erythema, conjunctival hyperemia, corneal epithelial edema, tear film break-up time, Schirmer test results, and corneal fluorescein and conjunctival Rose Bengal staining were evaluated. In a subgroup central corneal thickness and sensitivity, corneal epithelial barrier function, conjunctival and lid margin flora, and conjunctival impression cytologic analysis results were evaluated. In 3 patients, preoperative and postoperative tear samples were analyzed for viscosity, surface tension, and presence of mucins.


Submandibular gland autotransplantation resulted in long-term improvement of subjective, objective, and some ocular surface parameters. Salivary mucins were detectable in salivary tears after submandibular gland transplantation. The viscosity of salivary tears was more similar to normal saliva and the surface tension was intermediate between the 2 original secretions.


Submandibular gland autotransplantation provides long-term relief from pain and reduces the need for frequent installation of lubricants.

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