Amniotic membrane transplantation for severe neurotrophic corneal ulcers

H J Chen, R T Pires, S C Tseng
British Journal of Ophthalmology 2000, 84 (8): 826-33

AIMS: To evaluate whether amniotic membrane transplantation can be an effective alternative treatment for neurotrophic corneal ulcers.

METHODS: Amniotic membrane transplantation was performed in 16 eyes of 15 patients with neurotrophic corneal ulcers and vision equal to or worse than 20/200. The neurotrophic state was developed following keratoplasty (four eyes), herpes zoster ophthalmicus (four eyes), diabetes mellitus (four eyes), radiation (two eyes), removal of acoustic neuroma with neuroparalysis (one eye), and herpes simplex keratitis (one eye).

RESULTS: During a mean follow up period of 18.8 (SD 13.0) months, one to three layers of amniotic membrane with or without additional membrane as a patch were used for 17 procedures in 16 eyes for persistent neurotrophic corneal ulcers. All but four (76.4%) instances of amniotic membrane transplantation achieved rapid epithelialisation in 16.6 (9.0) days. Of the four eyes showing delayed healing, three eyes healed by tarsorrhaphy, and the remaining one eye with corneal perforation required penetrating keratoplasty and tarsorrhaphy. Two eyes gained vision better than 20/200. The healed corneal surface was accompanied by reduced inflammation.

CONCLUSION: Amniotic membrane transplantation can be considered an effective alternative for treating severe neurotrophic corneal ulcers.

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