The past decade has witnessed several major advances in the field of ocular surface reconstruction. It is now established that the limbal and corneal epithelia belong to the same clonogenic lineage and that conjunctival transdifferentiation does not occur. These facts have engendered the increasing use of limbal transplantation in several ocular conditions involving limbal compromise. Many reports on this procedure have been published in the past year. They add to the growing body of evidence that limbal transplantation is efficacious in replenishing the stem cell pool, promoting improved vision and enhancing ocular comfort. Recent clinical studies on limbal autograft transplantation also underscore the importance of preoperative impression cytology in donor eyes, highlight the fact that transplantation in inflamed eyes is to be avoided, and indicate that the procedure is likely to provide better outcomes if performed several months after ocular surface burns. The appreciation of the utility of amniotic membrane transplantation in ocular surface reconstruction has provided a surgical tool to use in tandem with limbal transplantation. Questions such as why limbal autografts fail, the long-term results of LAT, and whether limbal inclusion is mandatory during conjunctival transplantation after pterygium excision have not been answered fully. Studies on long-term outcomes with limbal allograft transplantation and those reporting on experience with newer techniques such as epithelial transplantation using tissue culture-cultivated epithelium are likely to provide better perspectives on the best way to reconstruct the ocular surface in stem cell-deficient eyes. (C) 2000 Lippincott Williams and Wilkins, Inc.
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