• Written By:
    Cornea/External Disease, Refractive Mgmt/Intervention

    This study compared corneal higher-order aberrations (HOAs) after ultrathin Descemet stripping automated endothelial keratoplasty (UT-DSAEK) versus Descemet membrane endothelial keratoplasty (DMEK).

    Study design

    Study participants had a damaged or diseased endothelium due to Fuchs endothelial dystrophy or pseudophakic bullous keratopathy. Fifty eyes (38 patients) were randomized to UT-DSAEK or DMEK. The main outcome—HOAs of the anterior and posterior cornea—was measured with Scheimpflug imaging.


    Overall, DMEK resulted in less posterior corneal coma (P≤0.003) and total HOA (P≤0.001) than UT-DSAEK. Posterior trefoil, secondary astigmatism and tetrafoil were also lower in the DMEK group. Total posterior corneal HOA tracked with BSCVA at 12 months. Anterior surface HOA was similar with both procedures.


    Since HOAs were a prespecified secondary outcome of the DETECT study, this trial may not have been powered to distinguish all differences.

    Clinical significance

    These findings show that DMEK results in the reduction of posterior corneal HOAs, and may account for the better visual acuity observed after DMEK.