Purpose: To investigate the clinical course of patients with familial subepithelial amyloidosis of the cornea (FSA). Methods: The authors retrospectively investigated the clinical course of seven Japanese patients with FSA. Corneal specimens obtained at the time of keratoplasty were examined histopathologically. Results: The mean follow-up period was 20.6 years, including four patients followed for more than 25 years. In all patients, the initial symptoms of photophobia and epiphora started in the first decade of life. All except one patient had their first keratoplasty before 30 years of age. The seven Japanese patients with FSA had a total of 35 keratoplasties, each of which was followed by a severe recurrence of disease. In each patient, subepithelial haziness developed in the graft within 1 year of keratoplasty (mean, 7.9 months}. Amyloid deposition typically recurred within a few years (mean, 26.6 months) followed by a deterioration of vision. There was a high incidence of postkeratoplasty complications such as wound dehiscence, glaucoma, and cataract. Histopathologic findings demonstrated that, in the early phase of recurrence, amyloid was deposited between the basal cell of the epithelium and Bowman's layer. Conclusion: Patients with FSA have ocular symptoms with a deterioration in vision from an early decade of life. Conventional surgical approaches were complicated by subepithelial haziness in the first postoperative year, which was followed by a severe recurrence in each patient. New surgical approaches may be indicated in FSA.
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