Purpose: To evaluate the long-term outcome of autologous graft of retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) in patients with geographic atrophy.
Methods: Ten patients with progressive geographic atrophy underwent translocation of an autologous graft of RPE, Bruch's membrane and choroid. The visual acuity (VA), reading performance, microperimetry, optical coherence tomography (OCT), fundus autofluorescence, fluorescein angiography and indocyanine green angiography were assessed.
Results: No recurrence of RPE atrophy was seen. All but one transplant were re-vascularized. Vascularization persisted throughout the 3 years follow-up. Spectral-domain OCT in some cases showed intact photoreceptors or intact outer nuclear and outer plexiform layer overlying the graft. In three cases, the grafts were positioned eccentrically; these patients did not benefit from surgery. The mean VA decreased from 20/80 (range: 20/800 to 20/40) at baseline to 20/200 (range: perception of hand movements to 20/32) at last follow-up. In two patients, VA were stable from 20/50 to 20/32 and 20/40 at the last follow-up, respectively. Postoperative complications included retinal detachment due to proliferative vitreoretinopathy, macular pucker, iritis, branch retinal vein occlusion and secondary ocular hypertension.
Conclusions: Some patients benefit for at least 3 years from a functioning RPE-choroid graft. Functional outcome in most patients, however, was limited due to complications and unfavorable patient selection.