Purpose: To analyse indications of paediatric keratoplasty in north China and provide information for the prevention of corneal blindness.
Methods: A retrospective study was carried out in 371 children (410 eyes) aged 14 years or younger who underwent corneal transplantation at Shandong Eye Institute between 1994 and 2005. Data of preoperative diagnoses, aetiological factors and rural or urban backgrounds were evaluated.
Results: The study included 259 boys and 112 girls, with a mean age of 7.8 ± 4.3 years (range 2.5 months to 14 years). Of the 410 eyes, 99 eyes (24.2%) had mechanical trauma, and 93 (22.7%) had infectious keratitis. Congenital corneal opacity developed in 53 eyes (12.9%), chemical or thermal burn in 42 eyes (10.2%) and keratoconus in 37 eyes (9.0%). There were twice as many children from a rural background as those from urban background, and an even higher proportion in the category of infectious keratitis (4.8:1). Regraft was performed in 42 eyes, of which 17 had an original diagnosis of chemical or thermal burn.
Conclusions: Mechanical trauma and infectious keratitis are the most common indications of paediatric keratoplasty, as well as childhood corneal blindness, in north China. Regraft occurs more often in children with ocular burns.