Purpose: To compare corneal graft survival rates after penetrating keratoplasty (PK) and Descemet’s stripping endothelial keratoplasty (DSEK) in patients with a glaucoma drainage device (GDD) or medically managed glaucoma. Methods: A retrospective chart review was conducted on consecutive patients who underwent primary PK or primary DSEK. Inclusion criteria consisted of eyes with a diagnosis of glaucoma prior to corneal transplantation and a minimum of 6 months of follow-up. Graft failure was defined as an edematous cornea with failure to maintain deturgescence lasting beyond a period of 1 month of intense steroid therapy or vascularization and scarring resulting in irreversible loss of central graft clarity. Corneal graft survival was calculated using Kaplan–Meier survival analysis. Patients were divided into four groups: GDD-PK, GDD-DSEK, medical-PK and medical-DSEK. Results: Fifty-six eyes of 56 patients were identified as meeting inclusion criteria. Among eyes with a GDD, there was no difference in the proportion of failures between PK grafts (48%) and DSEK grafts (50%) (p = 0.90). Failure occurred earlier in DSEK recipients compared to PK recipients, 5.82 ± 6.77 months versus 14.40 ± 7.70 months, respectively (p = 0.04). A Kaplan–Meier analysis did not identify a difference between the four groups with respect to graft failure (p = 0.52). Conclusion: There is no significant difference in graft survival rates between medically and surgically treated glaucoma patients for either PK or DSEK grafts. In patients with GDD, graft failure occurs earlier in DSEK compared to PK.
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