Outcomes of the first 250 eyes of Descemet membrane endothelial keratoplasty: Canadian centre experience

Mahmood Showail*, Murad Al Obthani, Nir Sorkin, Adi Einan-Lifshitz, Tanguy Boutin, Armand Borovik, Clara C. Chan, David S. Rootman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Objective: To report and analyze the clinical outcomes of the first 250 cases of Descemet membrane endothelial keratoplasty (DMEK). Methods: A retrospective case series was conducted on the first 250 DMEK cases. The cohort included eyes with previous trabeculectomy, pre-existing glaucoma drainage device, and previous vitrectomy. Outcomes measures were best spectacle-corrected visual acuity (BSCVA), endothelial cell loss (ECL), episodes of rejection, detachment, rebubbling rate, and the need for repeat transplantation. Subgroup analysis was performed between eyes with different etiologies and between different DMEK injectors. Results: The median BSCVA increased from 0.6 [0.4, 1.3] logMAR (Snellen equivalent, 20/80) before surgery to 0.3 [0.2, 0.5] logMAR (Snellen equivalent, 20/40) 6 months after DMEK (p < 0.001). The median ECL at 6 months after surgery was 26.1%. Thirty-nine eyes (15.6%) had graft detachment involving more than one third of the graft and required rebubbling. Two eyes (0.8%) had a graft rejection episode. Fifteen eyes (6%) had graft failure for which 13 eyes (5.2%) had repeat DMEK, 1 eye (0.4%) had repeat Descemet stripping automated endothelial keratoplasty (DSAEK), and 1 eye (0.4%) had repeat penetrating keratoplasty (PKP). Fuchs’ patients and failed PKP patients gained more vision at 6 months post-DMEK compared with other etiologies (pseudophakic bullous keratopathy and failed DSAEK) (p < 0.001). Conclusions: Our data suggest that DMEK is a safe and effective procedure with excellent visual outcomes. DMEK can be done in association with other co-morbidities such as post-trabeculectomy, glaucoma drainage device, previous vitrectomy, and failed corneal grafts with a good prognosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)510-517
Number of pages8
JournalCanadian Journal of Ophthalmology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2018
Externally publishedYes


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