Background: To identify changing trends in indications for corneal transplantation in Debrecen, Hungary over the past 64 years.
Design: Retrospective study, at the Department of Ophthalmology, University of Debrecen, Hungary.
Participants: Four thousand seven hundred and seventy-eight patients who underwent keratoplasty.
Methods: The analysis was based on medical charts, surgical descriptions and eye bank records.
Main Outcome Measures: Keratoplasty indications between January 1946 and December 2009. For an easier overview, the 64-year interval was divided into seven time periods (1946–1955, I; 1956–1965, II; 1966–1975, III; 1976–1985, IV; 1986–1995, V; 1996–2005, VI; 2006–2009, VII).
Results: Over the 64 years, clinical indications for keratoplasty were corneal scarring (24.9%), regraft (18.6%), keratoconus (18.6%), pseudophakic/aphakic corneal oedema (12%), stromal corneal dystrophies (6%), non-infectious keratitis (4.7%), chemical injuries (3.3%), corneal degenerations (3%), mechanical trauma (1.7%), infectious keratitis (1.4%), endothelial corneal dystrophies (1.3%) and others (4.5%). During periods I–IV, corneal scarring was the most common indication for corneal transplantation. In period V, corneal ectasia became the leading clinical indication. Regraft was the most frequent indication in period VI. In the most recent years, an emerging tendency in pseudophakic/aphakic corneal oedema as the indication for keratoplasty was observed.
Conclusions: In Hungary, the number of grafts has increased greatly in the past 64 years, the transplantation rates are similar to those of industrial countries. Indications for corneal transplantation have changed considerably over the last half decade from corneal scarring to corneal ectasia, regraft and pseudophakic/aphakic corneal oedema.