• Researchers analyzed data from the New Zealand National Eye Bank for 2000 through 2009. An average of 220 corneal transplants was performed each year during this 10-year period. The most common indications for corneal transplantation were keratoconus (41.1 percent), repeat transplant (17.0 percent) and aphakic/pseudophakic bullous keratopathy (13.9 percent).

    Overall, penetrating keratoplasty accounted for 90.7 percent of all corneal transplants. However, during the latter half of the study there was a progressive shift in transplantation type, with deep anterior lamellar keratoplasty and Descemet’s stripping endothelial keratoplasty combined accounting for 32.3 percent of all transplants in the final year of the study period.

    Transplant recipient demographics were similar compared with the previous decade, displaying a slight male preponderance at 54 percent. The median age was 45 years, which is younger than that reported in large international studies from the United Kingdom (54 years) and Canada (70 years). This may reflect the fact that almost half of the keratoplasty procedures in New Zealand are for keratoconus.

    The authors conclude that this study reinforces data from previous New Zealand National Eye Bank studies in terms of the similarity of recipient demographics, with relatively minor changes in indications and significant trends towards lamellar surgical approaches. It also reconfirms that New Zealand has the highest internationally reported proportion of corneal transplantation for keratoconus.