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Prevalence of Persistent Corneal Epithelial Defects in Chronic Ocular Graft-Versus-Host Disease

      Purpose

      To establish the prevalence, clinical characteristics, and risk factors for persistent corneal epithelial defects (PED) in patients with chronic ocular graft-versus-host disease (oGVHD) and to determine visual outcomes after healing.

      Design

      Retrospective cohort study.

      Methods

      A chart review was conducted of patients in whom chronic oGVHD was diagnosed between January 2011 and December 2018 and their demographic and clinical characteristics were collected. Data were analyzed to determine prevalence of PED, and multivariate logistic regression was performed to determine the risk factors associated with it.

      Results

      A total of 405 patients at a mean age of 60 ± 13 years in whom chronic oGVHD was diagnosed; 58% were men. The prevalence of PED was 8.1%. The median time for PED development after hematopoietic stem cell transplantation was approximately 24 months. Median time to PED resolution was 4.5 weeks after starting therapy. The mean best-corrected visual acuity declined by 2 lines post-PED resolution. The prevalence rates of corneal ulcer and perforation were 6.2% and 4.0%, respectively, over 8 years. Logistic regression analysis, used to determine factors associated with PED, showed diabetes (P = .006), limbal stem cell deficiency (LSCD) (P = .02), filamentary keratitis (P = .02), subconjunctival fibrosis (P = .02), and a higher National Institutes of Health (NIH) oGVHD score (P = .01) were significant risk factors for PED development.

      Conclusions

      The study found the prevalence rate of PED, corneal ulceration, and corneal perforation in chronic oGVHD to be 8.1%, 6.2%, and 4%, respectively. Analysis showed that oGVHD patients with diabetes, LSCD, filamentary keratitis, subconjunctival fibrosis, and a high NIH score were at higher risk of developing severe corneal disease.
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