To evaluate the efficacy of multilayer amniotic membrane transplantation (AMT) combined with antivirus and corticosteroid drug to treat necrotizing herpes simplex stromal keratitis.
Thirteen patients (13 eyes) of necrotizing stromal keratitis were referred to Shandong Eye Institute and Qingdao Eye Hospital between January 2003 and April 2004. The course of disease was 3 - 22 months (mean 15 months). Corneal inflammation persisted and corneal ulcer progressed despite topical and systemic antiviral treatment for over 1 weeks. Multilayer amniotic membrane transplantation was performed after excluding of bacterial and fungal infection by microbiologic studies including smears and cultures of necrotic corneal tissue and confocal microscope. Topical and systemic antiviral medications were given with adjuvant corticosteroid eyedrops postoperatively. We investigated the healing of corneal ulcer and improvement of stromal edema with slit lamp biomicroscope, the integrity of corneal defect with fluorescein staining, the migration of healthy corneal epithelial cells and transformation of amniotic membrane with confocal microscopy. All patients were followed up for 3 - 13 months (mean 10 months).
Corneal ulcer healed within 1 - 3 weeks postoperatively with negative fluorescein staining. Corneal stromal edema faded away within 1 month. Superficial amniotic membrane patches dissolved or shed on postoperative day 7 - 10, while the deeper grafts were adhered into the ulcer and fused with the surrounding fibroblasts. One of these grafts remained in situ more than 3 months. Confocal microscope examination indicated flat epithelial progenitor cells on the surface of residual amniotic membrane. Corneal transparence was achieved in 7 eyes, macula in 4 eyes and leucoma in 2 eyes 3 months after the operation. No recurrence of necrotizing stromal keratitis was occurred in 13 patients during the follow-up period.
Multilayer AMT combined with antivirus and corticosteroid treatment is an effective method to treat necrotizing herpes simplex stromal keratitis.