Background: Deep anterior lamellar keratoplasty (DALK) is indicated to correct high astigmatism in patients with keratoconus (KC) and no evidence of Descemet’s membrane rupture. However, some patients with KC experience graft rejection-like inflammatory reactions within 2 months (usually in the first week) after DALK. The aim of this study was to identify the characteristics and influencing factors of these reactions by reviewing the records of patients who underwent DALK or penetrating keratoplasty (PKP) for KC or other corneal problems. Methods: We retrospectively reviewed the medical records of patients who underwent DALK for KC (DALK/KC), PKP for KC (PKP/KC), or DALK for other corneal problems (DALK/ non-KC) at Ban Buntane Hotokukai Hospital between January 2006 and December 2015 and who were followed for more than 1 year. We collected data on the characteristics and incidence of severe inflammatory graft reactions in the early postoperative phase (ie, within 2 months after keratoplasty) and visual outcomes after these inflammatory reactions. Results: Postoperative inflammatory reactions characterized by persistent epithelial defects, loose suture with infiltration, and vessel invasion occurred in seven of eleven DALK/KC patients, three of 50 DALK/non-KC patients, and none of five PKP/KC patients. These reactions were nonresponsive to topical steroids, and suture removal was required. Although a clear corneal graft in the pupillary area was obtained and best-corrected visual acuity was good after the resolution of inflammation, a risk of corneal astigmatism remained. Conclusion: The incidence of these reactions in the early postoperative period is high after DALK for KC. These reactions do not respond well to topical steroids, and suture removal may be required, which may cause high astigmatism after the inflammation subsides. Lamellar keratoplasty should be considered carefully for patients with KC.
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