Fresh Human Myopic Lenticule Intrastromal Implantation for Keratoconus Using SMILE Surgery in a Long-term Follow-up Study: Ultrastructural Analysis by Transmission Electron Microscopy

Semiz F., Lokaj A. S., Tanriverdi G., Caliskan G., Hima-Musa N., Semiz C. E.

JOURNAL OF REFRACTIVE SURGERY, vol.38, pp.520-528, 2022 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 38
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.3928/1081597x-20220713-02
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, EMBASE, MEDLINE
  • Page Numbers: pp.520-528
  • Istanbul University Affiliated: Yes


PURPOSE: To investigate new intrastromal histological structures that develop after myopic human lenticular implantation in keratoconus with femtosecond laser-assisted small incision lenticule extraction (SMILE) surgery using transmission electron microscopy. METHODS: Sixty eyes with advanced keratoconus indicated for corneal transplantation were included in this study. Fresh myopic lenticular implants were placed in all eyes through SMILE surgery. Lenticular implants were extracted from patients with myopic refractive errors of the cornea, untreated keratoconus, and treated keratoconus following 1, 2, and 3 years of surgery. These five lenticular samples were examined under the electron microscope and compared. RESULTS: Disorganized and thinned collagen fibers were observed in the stroma with degenerative stromal cells (telocyte-like cells and keratocytes) in the keratoconic cornea. Apoptotic bodies and cell debris were easily observed near the disorganized fibers. In contrast, the myopic refractive error of the control and treatment groups demonstrated well-organized parallel lamellar structures. Healthy keratocytes and telocyte-like cells were observed in samples obtained 1, 2, and 3 years after lenticular implantation. Thus, telocyte-like cells may be activated by appropriate stimuli, such as stem cells, and be involved in stromal regeneration. CONCLUSIONS: Fresh myopic intrastromal lenticular implantation is a safe, economical, and reliable technique that leads to increased corneal thickness, improved visual acuity, and the regeneration of healthy keratocytes and telocyte-like cells that are involved in stromal regeneration. [J Refract Surg. 2022;38(8):520-528.]