PURPOSE: To examine the corneal transplant failure rates and associations with uveitic eye disease. METHODS: The retrospective chart review identified 70 eyes from 42 patients with uveitis that underwent 40 primary transplants and 30 repeat transplants at 2 major academic centers over a 9-year period. The graft failure rate was calculated. Variables hypothesized to be associated with graft failure were analyzed as covariates using a Cox proportional hazards analysis clustered by the patients to determine their association with failure rates. RESULTS: Of the 70 grafts, the mean duration of follow-up for patients was 40.6 months (range 4-90 months) and the median survival time was 24.1 months (interquartile range of 9-290 months). Twenty-two patients (52%) had graft failure. There was a higher rate of graft failure in patients with infectious uveitis as compared to those with noninfectious uveitis (hazard ratio 2.46, P = 0.031). Patients with successful grafts had their inflammation controlled for a longer period of time before transplantation as compared to those with failed grafts (38.6 vs. 13.6 months, P = 0.004). Worse preoperative visual acuities were significantly associated with graft failure (P < 0.001). CONCLUSIONS: There is limited knowledge of corneal transplant outcomes in uveitic patients in the current literature. In our study, over half of the grafts failed. Infectious uveitis (especially viral) was a strong predictor of graft failure. A shorter period of inflammation control before transplantation, previously failed grafts, and worse preoperative visual acuity were also associated with graft failure.
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