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AIMS: The aims of this study were to examine trends over time and regional variation in rates of corneal graft surgery in the UK. METHODS: The hospital in-patient enquiry (HIPE) and hospital episode statistics (HES) were analysed for keratoplasty admissions in England from 1971 to 2006. NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) data were analysed for keratoplasty operations in the UK from 1999 to 2009. RESULTS: Annual rates of penetrating keratoplasty (PK) under HIPE and HES increased from 0.7 per 100,000 population (1971) to 3.9 (1992), then decreased to 3.1 (2006). Rates of lamellar keratoplasty (LK) increased from 0.1 (1971) to 0.9 (2006). Annual PK operations under NHSBT decreased from 1901 (1999/00) to 1473 (2008/9). Over the same period, deep anterior lamellar keratoplasty operations increased from 91 to 327 per year, while endothelial keratoplasty operations increased from 2 to 569 per year. Geographical analysis showed a wide variation across local authority areas in rates of keratoplasty around 1998-2004, especially for LK. CONCLUSION: The total number of corneal graft operations performed in the UK has increased slowly over the past decade. The proportion of lamellar versus penetrating keratoplasty has increased, with LK performed at the highest rates in specialist centres distributed across the UK.

Original publication




Journal article


Br J Ophthalmol

Publication Date





468 - 472


Adolescent, Adult, Age Distribution, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Child, Child, Preschool, Corneal Diseases, Corneal Transplantation, Female, Graft Survival, Humans, Infant, Infant, Newborn, Male, Middle Aged, Sex Distribution, United Kingdom, Young Adult