Severe bilateral descemetoceles in Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency

Jeffrey Ma, Jeanine Baqai*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Purpose: To report a case of severe bilateral descemetoceles in a patient with alpha-1 antitrypsin (A1AT) deficiency during intensive care unit hospitalization. Observations: A 42-year-old male presented with sub-acute bilateral vision loss during an intensive care unit hospitalization following liver and kidney transplantations. On exam, this patient's best-corrected visual acuity was 20/80 in both eyes. There were bilateral descemetoceles inferotemporally in both eyes with overlying epithelial defects and dense surrounding punctate epithelial staining. The patient was initially treated with gatifloxacin drops and frequent lubricating ointment. Given the concern for impending perforation, cyanoacrylate glue with bandage contact lens was applied to both eyes. His best corrected visual acuity remained unchanged in the right eye and improved to 20/30 in the left eye. Upon medical stabilization, anterior lamellar graft was performed in the right eye, with plans for the same treatment in the left eye in the future. Conclusions: As A1AT is found in the tear film and is believed to play a role in regulating protease activity in the cornea, we hypothesize that this patient's A1AT deficiency exacerbated the progression of corneal ulceration leading to severe descemetocele formation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100513
JournalAmerican Journal of Ophthalmology Case Reports
StatePublished - Sep 2019


  • Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency
  • Anterior lamellar keratoplasty
  • Corneal patch graft
  • Corneal tectonic graft
  • Descemetocele

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology


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