Deep anterior lamellar keratoplasty (DALK) may significantly improve vision-related quality of life (QOL) both before and after suture removal, a recent study found. Researchers from Istanbul used the 25-item National Eye Institute Visual Function Questionnaire (NEI VFQ-25) to assess preoperative diagnosis, preoperative and postoperative best-corrected visual acuity and postoperative astigmatism in 35 DALK patients. The questionnaire also covered various subscale parameters, including general health, general vision, pain or discomfort in or around the eyes, difficulty with near activities, difficulty with distance activities, limitations in social functioning, mental health symptoms related to vision, role difficulties, dependency, driving difficulties and limitations with color vision and peripheral vision.

At six months after surgery, the mean preoperative NEI VFQ-25 composite score had improved significantly. The score continued to show improvement at 12 months after surgery, well beyond suture removal, which took place at eight months after surgery. Additionally, the subscale item scores increased significantly after surgery. According to the study, postoperative astigmatism, functional visual acuity, vision in the fellow eye and age were the most significant parameters associated with patient satisfaction.

While these results led the study authors to conclude, “vision-related QOL increases in patients who underwent DALK” and “continues to increase after suture removal,” they would like to see future studies address a larger patient pool from a variety of different locations to further confirm their findings.

Yildiz E, Toklu M, Turan Vural E. Vision-related quality of life before and after deep anterior lamellar keratoplasty. Eye Contact Lens. 2018;44(3):144-8.