In Vivo Confocal Microscopy of the Corneal-Conjunctival Transition in the Evaluation of Epithelial Renewal after SLET
Journal of Clinical Medicine
Examination of the corneal surface by in vivo confocal microscopy (IVCM) allows for objective identification of corneal and conjunctival cell phenotypes to evaluate different epithelialization patterns. Detection of a corneal-conjunctival epithelial transition could be considered as a sign of restored epithelial function following simple limbal epithelial transplantation (SLET). This is a prospective, interventional case series. We assessed patients with limbal stem cell deficiency (LSCD) by
... ciency (LSCD) by IVCM, preoperatively and at monthly intervals following SLET. Sectors in the central and peripheral cornea were scanned. Immediately upon detection of multi-layered cells with the epithelial phenotype in the central cornea and confirmation of epithelial transition in all corneal sectors, the decision for keratoplasty was taken. Ten patients were enrolled. After SLET, epithelial phenotype in the central cornea and an epithelial transition were identified within six and nine months in seven and one patients, respectively. One patient was a partial success and one failed. Five patients underwent keratoplasty, with stable results up to 12 months. Identification of the epithelial transition zone by IVCM permits assessment of the efficacy of SLET, enabling subsequent planning of keratoplasty for visual rehabilitation. The stability of the corneal surface following keratoplasty confirms that the renewal of the corneal epithelium was effectively retained.