Original Research

Penetrating keratoplasty in eThekwini Health District 2011–2014

Monawwar Khan, Linda Visser, Saajida Mahomed
African Vision and Eye Health | Vol 74, No 1 | a299 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/aveh.v74i1.299 | © 2015 Monawwar Khan, Linda Visser, Saajida Mahomed | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 22 February 2015 | Published: 09 July 2015

About the author(s)

Monawwar Khan, Department of Ophthalmology, Nelson R. Mandela School of Medicine, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Linda Visser, Department of Ophthalmology, Nelson R. Mandela School of Medicine, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Saajida Mahomed, Department of Public Health Medicine, Nelson R. Mandela School of Medicine, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: Penetrating keratoplasty (PK – corneal transplantation or full-thickness corneal graft) remains the primary sight-restoring procedure for corneal blindness. South Africa is experiencing a shortage of donor corneas, resulting in long waiting times for a corneal transplant. A corneal graft protocol has been drawn up in the eThekwini Health District to triage prospective corneal graft recipients.

Aim: To describe the clinical and demographic profiles of patients on the elective corneal graft waiting list, the waiting time for PK and the scoring system prioritisation process of corneal graft allocation.

Setting: All patients on the elective corneal graft waiting list in the eThekwini Health District.

Methods: An observational, descriptive cross-sectional study was conducted for a 3-year period between April 2011 and March 2014.

Results: A total of 104 patients were on the elective corneal graft waiting list for PK during the study period. Only 20% (n = 21) of patients received a corneal graft during the 3-year period. Amongst those that received a corneal graft, the median waiting period was 280 days (interquartile range 143–520 days). The majority of patients on the waiting list (67%) were younger than 41 years of age. The commonest indication for PK was keratoconus (64%). Patients with higher pro forma scores are more likely to receive a corneal graft when a donor cornea becomes available.

Conclusion: With a shortage of donor corneas, very few patients receive a corneal graft. Educational programmes are vital to increase awareness of corneal blindness and the value of corneal donations.


Keywords

Penetrating keratoplasty; corneal transplantation; corneal grafts

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