AIM/BACKGROUND The public health significance of corneal transplantation in dealing with corneal blindness in the developing world would depend upon the survival rate of transplants. This study was done to analyse the survival rate of corneal transplants in a large series in India, and to evaluate the influence of various risk factors on transplant survival.
METHODS The records of a series of 1725 cases of corneal transplants carried out during 1987–95 at a tertiary eye care institution in India were reviewed. The Kaplan–Meier method was used to determine 5 year survival rates of corneal transplants performed for the various categories of preoperative diagnosis. Multivariate Cox proportional hazards regression was used to assess how preoperative diagnosis, socioeconomic status, age, sex, vascularisation of host cornea, quality of donor cornea, and training status of surgeon influenced transplant survival. The effect of these variables on visual outcome was assessed using multiple logistic regression.
RESULTS The survival rates at 1, 2, and 5 years for all corneal transplants performed for the first time in 1389 cases were 79.6% (95% confidence interval = 77.3–81.9%), 68.7% (65.7–71.7%) and 46.5% (41.7–51.3%). The 5 year survival rate was highest if the corneal transplant was done for keratoconus (95.1% (84.8–100%)) and lowest if carried out for previous transplant failure (21.2% (13.8–28.6%)). The relative risk of transplant failure was higher if the preoperative diagnosis was previous transplant failure (2.04 (1.62–2.55)), aphakic bullous keratopathy (1.78 (1.38–2.28)), corneal clouding due to miscellaneous causes including congenital conditions and glaucoma (1.63 (1.21–2.19)), or adherent leucoma (1.11 (0.81–1.51)) than for the other preoperative diagnoses. Patients with lower socioeconomic status had higher relative risk of transplant failure (1.28 (1.16–1.42)), as did patients <10 years of age (1.42 (1.23–1.64)). Higher relative risk of transplant failure was associated with vascularisation of the host cornea before transplantation (1.15 (1.04–1.27)), and with the use of fair quality donor cornea for transplantation compared with excellent, very good, or good quality donor cornea (1.26 (1.06–1.52)). Before corneal transplant 80.2% of the eyes were blind (visual acuity <3/60), whereas at last follow up 41.8% eyes were blind. The odds of having visual acuity >6/18 were higher if the transplant was done for keratoconus (9.99 (6.10–16.36)) or corneal dystrophies (1.77 (1.21–2.58)) than for the other preoperative diagnoses.
CONCLUSION Reasonable success with corneal transplantation is possible in the developing world if data from this part of the world regarding the different survival rates for the various preoperative diagnoses and the influence of risk factors on transplant survival and visual outcome are taken into account while determining priority for transplant cases in the present situation of limited availability of donor corneas.
- corneal transplant
- visual outcome
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