Influence of advanced recipient and donor age on the outcome of corneal transplantation

Keryn A. Williams, Sylvia M. Muehlberg, Rowena F. Lewis, Douglas J. Coster

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Aims. The aims of this study were to examine the influence of advanced recipient and donor age on the long term outcome of corneal transplantation. Methods. Records of 1036 penetrating corneal grafts in recipients aged ≤ 80 years at surgery (defined as the elderly subset) and 8092 donor corneas used for transplantation were obtained from the Australian Corneal Graft Register database. Kaplan-Meier graft survival plots were compared using log rank statistics. Results. Elderly recipients constituted 15% of the recipient pool. The major indication for corneal transplantation in the elderly was bullous keratopathy. Graft survival fell with increasing recipient age (p < 0.00001); the major cause of graft failure was rejection (33%). The desired outcome in 51% of cases was to improve vision and in 42% of cases to relieve pain; 23% of elderly recipients achieved a Snellen acuity of 6/18 or better in the grafted eye and 66% recorded improved acuity after transplantation. Elderly recipients suffered more complications and comerbidities in the grafted eye than did younger recipients. Donor age (stratified in 10 year intervals) did not influence corneal graft survival significantly (p = 0.10). Conclusions. Elderly graft recipients fared less well after corneal transplantation than did younger recipients, but outcomes in terms of long term graft survival and visual rehabilitation were still good. Donor age did not affect graft survival.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)835-839
Number of pages5
JournalBritish Journal of Ophthalmology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished or Issued - Oct 1997
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

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