Of 40 patients intolerant to contact lenses, 47 eyes with keratoconus were surgically corrected with either epikeratoplasty (N = 31) or penetrating keratoplasty (N = 16). The percentage of eyes in both groups that had visual acuity of 20/40 or better with contact lenses at one year were equal (14 of 15 eyes [93.3%] in the penetrating keratoplasty group; 27 of 29 eyes [93.1%] in the epikeratoplasty group); however, the penetrating keratoplasty procedure resulted in a higher percentage of eyes that had visual acuity of 20/20 than the epikeratoplasty group (11 of 15 eyes [73%] compared with seven of 29 eyes [24.1%], respectively). Both procedures resulted in significant corneal flattening, with the penetrating keratoplasty group producing an average of 3 diopters more keratometric reduction than the epikeratoplasty group one year postoperatively. Although no irreversible graft failures occurred, five of 16 eyes (31%) in the penetrating keratoplasty group had graft reactions. No serious complications were noted in the eyes of the epikeratoplasty group. Both procedures were effective in the surgical management of keratoconus.
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