Purpose: Corneal melting with perforation is a severe ophthalmic complication of autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis. It requires urgent medical management in order to maintain the integrity of the globe and preserve vision. Treating this complication by penetrating keratoplasty is problematic due to the high rate of recurrence of corneal melting as well as other complications. We describe the use of a tectonic fresh-tissue corneolimbal covering graft. Methods: An interventional case series including three patients that presented to our tertiary center between 2000 and 2015 with corneal melting and perforation, secondary to rheumatoid arthritis. Emergency surgery included suturing of a 13.00- to 13.50-mm full-thickness fresh-tissue corneolimbal covering graft to the patient’s posterior limbal zone. Results: The corneolimbal graft maintained the integrity of the cornea in all cases, by sealing the perforation and promoting the creation of a fibrovascular scar at the area of corneal melting. There were no complications, recurrences of host corneal melting, or perforation during the follow-up period. Conclusion: Fresh-tissue full-thickness corneolimbal grafts may be used to cover emergency corneal melting and perforations secondary to rheumatoid arthritis.
- Rheumatoid arthritis