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AIMS: To report long term visual outcomes, complications and graft survival of patients undergoing deep anterior lamellar keratoplasty (DALK) to treat corneal scarring secondary to herpes simplex virus (HSV) keratitis. METHODS: Retrospective, non-comparative case series. 18 patients who underwent DALK for HSV keratitis related corneal scarring between January 2004 and February 2007 were included. DALK was performed by Anwar's big bubble technique. Data collected for analysis included preoperative characteristics, intraoperative complications and postoperative acuity, complications and subsequent operations. RESULTS: Mean best corrected distance visual acuity (LogMAR) improved from 1.51 ± 0.90 preoperatively to 0.82 ± 0.85 at the last follow-up (p=0.05). 27% of patients with more than 4 years follow-up had a best corrected distance visual acuity of 6/12 or better and 64% were 6/24 or better. Six patients (33%) experienced a recurrence of HSV keratitis and 9 (50%) experienced an episode of graft rejection. There were five cases (28%) of graft failure, four of whom had had a previous episode of graft rejection. Logistic regression did not find an association with graft rejection, HSV recurrence, any other observed postoperative host corneal vascularisation and any postoperative complication. The majority of patients underwent a second operation with 50% requiring cataract surgery. CONCLUSIONS: DALK for the treatment of HSV related corneal scarring is associated with a high percentage of postoperative complications. DALK in this context is also associated with a large percentage of secondary operations. Patients should be aware of this when giving informed consent for DALK to treat HSV related corneal scars.

Original publication




Journal article


Br J Ophthalmol

Publication Date





1200 - 1203


Acyclovir, Antiviral Agents, Cicatrix, Corneal Transplantation, Female, Follow-Up Studies, Graft Rejection, Graft Survival, Humans, Intraocular Pressure, Kaplan-Meier Estimate, Keratitis, Herpetic, Male, Recurrence, Reoperation, Retrospective Studies, Risk Factors, Treatment Outcome, Visual Acuity