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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 36  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 95-101

Changing trends in the corneal transplantation and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on corneal transplant recipient selection

Department of Ophthalmology, Kartal Dr. Lutfi Kirdar City Hospital, Istanbul, Turkey

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Burak Tanyildiz
Department of Ophthalmology, Kartal Dr. Lutfi KirdarCity Hospital, Semsi Denizer Street, E-5, 34890, Kartal, Istanbul
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/sjopt.sjopt_251_21

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PURPOSE: The aim of this study was to analyze the trends in the major indications and types of keratoplasty over a 15-year period and to determine the effect of the coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic on the selection of corneal transplant recipients at a tertiary referral center in Turkey. METHODS: We retrospectively reviewed the data of patients who underwent keratoplasty at the center from January 2006 to March 2021. The keratoplasty indications and types of surgery were evaluated after classification into three groups (period I – January 2006–December 2012; period II – January 2013–March 2020; COVID-19 period – April 2020–March 2021). RESULTS: A total of 5016 corneal transplants were performed in 3862 patients. Lamellar keratoplasty (LK) techniques were found to demonstrate a statistically significantly increasing trend compared to penetrating keratoplasty in the period between 2006 and 2021 (χ2 = 240.55, P < 0.001). The top 4 indications over the 15-year period were aphakic/pseudophakic bullous keratopathy (BK) (1105, 22%), keratoconus (1085, 21.6%), regraft (1084, 21.6%), and keratitis (645, 12.8%). The most common keratoplasty indication during the COVID-19 period was regraft (27, 54.0%), followed by BK (13, 26.0%) and corneal perforation (5, 10%). CONCLUSION: BK was the most common keratoplasty indication at our clinic during the 15-year period. LK rates have been found to increase in recent years, although still not reaching the rates of developed countries. There was a marked decrease in the number of keratoplasties during the COVID-19 pandemic and patients requiring urgent keratoplasty or those who suffered from a painful eye were prioritized.

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