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Cornea. 2013 Dec;32(12):1610-2. doi: 10.1097/ICO.0b013e3182a9fc85.

5-Fluorouracil for epithelial downgrowth after Descemet stripping automated endothelial keratoplasty.

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*Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Science, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT; and †Department of Pathology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD.



To report the use of intracameral 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) to treat epithelial downgrowth after performing a Descemet-stripping automated endothelial keratoplasty (DSAEK).


We describe the case of a 79-year-old woman who underwent a DSAEK for pseudophakic Fuchs endothelial corneal dystrophy. The patient required 2 repeat DSAEKs for graft failure and persistent, visually significant interface haze. Six months after the third and most recent DSAEK, the patient was followed up and found to have a visual acuity of 20/100. On examination, the patient continued to have a persistent interface haze. However, the patient also had a cellular anterior chamber reaction despite the administration of frequent topical corticosteroids, and subtle findings of a translucent, membranous growth over the iris. Argon laser photocoagulation of the area resulted in a whitening response, characteristic of epithelial growth.


Epithelial downgrowth was diagnosed, and intracameral 5-FU was administered. One month after the injection was given, the patient's examination results and vision improved to 20/60. Six months after the single injection, the patient had a clear DSAEK graft without interface haze, a quiet chamber, and 20/30 visual acuity.


Epithelial downgrowth that occurs after performing a DSAEK can be treated successfully using intracameral 5-FU.

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