NYMC Faculty Publications


Anatomic and Visual Outcomes of Corneal Transplantation During Infancy

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PURPOSE: To determine the effect of age at penetrating keratoplasty (PKP) on graft survival and visual outcome in children with corneal opacities transplanted during infancy.

METHODS: In this two-center retrospective consecutive cohort study, the medical records of infants who underwent unilateral or bilateral PKP during the first year of life between 2004 and 2011 were reviewed retrospectively. PKP was categorized as early (age 0-90 days) or late (age 91-365 days). Main outcome measures were graft survival and vision (classified as poor, fair, or good, considering both testing method and age norms).

RESULTS: A total of 62 eyes of 52 infants were included: 19 eyes underwent early PKP; 43 eyes, late PKP. Of the 62 eyes, 61 had central congenital corneal opacities; 1 was acquired. Median follow-up was 38.1 months (range, 12.2-150.5 months). Kaplan-Meier graft survival estimates were 0.92 at 1 year (95% CI, 0.81-0.96) and 0.61 at 5 years (0.44-0.74). Graft survival (early PKP, 73.7%; late PKP, 65.1% [P = 0.57]) did not differ between groups. Of the 55 eyes with recorded visual acuities, no significant difference existed in proportion with ambulatory or better vision at latest follow-up between early and late PKP (42.1% vs 55.6%; P = 0.61).

CONCLUSIONS: Visual outcomes were better for PKP performed during infancy compared to results of prior reports of late PKP; however, clearing of congenital opacities in the first 3 months of life did not improve visual outcomes compared to later PKP. One-half of grafts survived >5 years. Early PKP did not worsen graft survival, but PKP may be technically easier to perform later in infancy.

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