Diseases that affect the limbal stem cells are multifactorial and present with different stages of severity. The most important features to be considered in evaluating these patients include the degree of limbal stem cell loss, the extent of conjunctival disease, and the presence and etiology of ocular surface inflammation. Other important factors are tear film and eyelid abnormalities, keratinization of the ocular surface, laterality of the disease process, health and age of the patient. Careful consideration of all of these factors help tremendously in tailoring the most suitable method of treatment for each patient. The management of severe ocular surface disease has benefited from numerous advances in recent years. At one time, available techniques for visual rehabilitation consisted of superficial keratectomy, use of artificial tears, tarsorraphy as well as lamellar and penetrating keratoplasty. A lamellar or penetrating keratoplasty procedure resulted in a stable surface only for as long as the donor epithelium was present and once the epithelium sloughed off, the ocular surface failed due to conjunctivalization. The last few decades enjoyed the development and, especially, progress of new ocular surface reconstruction techniques such as amniotic membrane transplantation, limbal stem cell transplant procedures, transplantation of cultivated oral mucosal or limbal stem cell sheets. This review will briefly focus on the indications and methodology of each procedure and the currently available clinical data on the results of these procedures.
ASJC Scopus subject areas