Glaucoma following penetrating keratoplasty (PKP) is one of the most common causes for irreversible visual loss and the second leading cause for graft failure after rejection. The management of penetrating keratoplasty and glaucoma (PKPG) remains controversial mainly because of the high risk of graft failure associated with the treatment.
Recent developments in the management of glaucoma, including newer classes of drugs, surgical procedures (eg, trabeculectomy with mitomycin-C), glaucoma drainage devices (GDDs), and cyclodestructive procedures with Nd:YAG and diode lasers, have increased the options available to the clinician in the management of PKPG.
This article addresses the etiology, diagnosis, and treatment of PKPG.
History of the Procedure
In 1969, Irvine and Kaufman reported the high incidence of increased intraocular pressure (IOP) following PKP.  They reported a mean maximum pressure of 40 mm Hg in aphakic transplants and 50 mm Hg in combined transplants and cataract extraction in the immediate postoperative period. Since then, numerous authors have reported on the incidence and management of PKPG.
The important risk factors for glaucoma in patients undergoing PKP include aphakic and pseudophakic bullous keratopathy, mesodermal dysgenesis, irido-corneal-endothelial syndrome, preexisting glaucoma, perforated corneal ulcer, adherent leukoma, previous PKP, posttraumatic cases, combined PKP and intracapsular cataract extraction, and performance of vitrectomy during PKP. [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8]
The causes for elevated IOP in the early postoperative period are as follows:
Wound leak with angle closure
- Tight suturing and long bites with compression of the angle
- Larger recipient bed with same size donor button
- Increased peripheral corneal thickness
Pupillary block glaucoma
Preexisting peripheral anterior synechiae
PKP in aphakic eyes secondary to mechanical angle collapse
The causes for elevated IOP in the late postoperative period are as follows:
PKP in aphakic eyes
PKP combined with cataract extraction
Graft rejection with glaucoma
Ghost cell glaucoma
Misdirected aqueous or ciliary block (malignant) glaucoma
The pathophysiology of PKPG is multifactorial; it may be related to distortion of the angle with collapse of the trabecular meshwork, suturing technique, postoperative inflammation, corticosteroid use, and peripheral anterior synechiae. The usual factors that contribute to postoperative glaucoma, such as preexisting glaucoma, postoperative inflammation, use of viscoelastic substances, and steroid-induced glaucoma,  should be considered.
Dada et al reported ultrasound biomicroscopy (UBM) findings in 31 eyes with postkeratoplasty glaucoma.  The types of synechiae noted on UBM included peripheral anterior synechiae in 30/31 (96.7%) eyes, synechiae at the graft-host junction in 13/31 (41.93%) eyes, both peripheral anterior synechiae and graft-host junction synechiae in 12/31 (38.7%) eyes, central iridocorneal synechiae in 6/31 (19.3%) eyes, and intraocular lens iris synechiae in 3/31 (9.6%) eyes. The authors concluded that secondary angle closure caused by anterior synechiae formation is one of the important causes of PKPG in eyes with opaque grafts. The authors also concluded that UBM serves as a useful tool for anterior segment evaluation in such cases and can help in planning the site for glaucoma filtering surgeries and drainage devices.
Other factors that are peculiar to patients who have undergone keratoplasty exist. Olson and Kaufman, using a mathematical model, proposed that the elevated IOP following keratoplasty in an aphakic patient might be the result of angle distortion secondary to a roll of excess compressed tissue in the angle.  Because of edema and inflammation, trabecular meshwork function is compromised. According to Olson and Kaufman, factors that contribute to angle distortion include tight suturing, long bites (more compressed tissue), larger trephine sizes, smaller recipient corneal diameter, and increased peripheral corneal thickness.  Conversely, less tight wounds, smaller trephine sizes, donor corneas larger than the recipient, thinner recipient corneas, and larger overall corneal diameter tend to alleviate the angle distortion.
The diagnosis of PKPG is made based on IOP measurements in the early postoperative period, and, in the late postoperative period, it is based on IOP, optic disc changes, and progressive visual field changes. Patients with extremely high IOPs might present with graft edema and/or failure.
Indications are discussed in other sections.
Relevant anatomy is discussed in other sections.
Contraindications are discussed in other sections.
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