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Strategic combination of cultivated oral mucosal epithelial transplantation and postoperative limbal-rigid contact lens-wear for end-stage ocular surface disease: a retrospective cohort study.

PURPOSE: To provide the long-term outcome of patients with end-stage severe ocular surface disease (OSD) consecutively treated with cultivated oral mucosal epithelial transplantation (COMET) followed by limbal-rigid contact lens (CL)-wear therapy.

DESIGN: Retrospective cohort.

METHODS: In 23 eyes of 18 patients with severe OSD who underwent COMET surgery between 2002 and 2019 and who were followed with limbal-rigid CL-wear therapy for at least 1 year postoperative, patient demographics, best-corrected visual acuity (BCVA, logMAR), Ocular Surface Grading Scores (OSGS), surgical indication and adverse events were reviewed. Primary and secondary outcomes were BCVA and OSGS changes at baseline and final examination, respectively.

RESULTS: This study involved 16 patients with Stevens-Johnson syndrome and 2 patients with mucous membrane pemphigoid (mean age: 59±15 years). The indications for COMET were as follows: corneal reconstruction for vision improvement (10 eyes (43.5%)), corneal reconstruction for persistent epithelial defect (4 eyes (17.4%)) and conjunctival (fornix) reconstruction for symblepharon release (9 eyes (39.1%)). The mean duration of CL-wear postsurgery was 6.4±3.9 years (range: 1.4 to 13.3 years). The mean BCVA at baseline and at final follow-up was logMAR 1.9±0.5 and 1.3±0.7, respectively (p<0.05). Compared with those at baseline, the OSGSs for symblepharon and upper and lower fornix shortening showed significant improvement at each follow-up time point post treatment initiation. No serious intraoperative or postoperative adverse events were observed.

CONCLUSION: In patients afflicted with severe OSD, COMET combined with limbal-rigid CL-wear therapy postsurgery was found effective for vision improvement and ocular surface stabilisation.

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