Background & Objective: Corneal endothelial cells (ECD) are characterized by limited regenerative potential, which is additionally impaired in patients with diabetes. This retrospective study included 27 patients aged 58.1±13.6, 16 female and 11 males, who underwent 23-gauge vitrectomy in combination with cataract surgery (phacovitrectomy) and further Ex-PRESS shunt implantation throughout 2013-2017 at St. Barbara Hospital in Sosnowiec, Poland.
Methods: In our study, we distinguished 4 periods: initial period; post phacovitrectomy and removal of oil tamponade; and 3 and 12 months post implantation of the Ex-PRESS shunt. Statistical analysis was performed at the level of statistical significance of p<0.05. It included an analysis of variance (ANOVA) and Tukey’s post-hoc test in order to determine the differences in the density of ECD cells/mm2 between the periods of observation. The paired-samples t-Student test was also performed to determine whether the differences in visual acuity values before and after PPV and before and after Ex-PRESS shunt were statistically significant.
Results: The initial count of ECD cells was 2381.1±249, which decreased to 1872.8±350.7 cell/mm2 and finally to 1677.9±327 at the endpoint. Differences in the density of ECD cells/mm2 were observed to be statistically significant between the periods: after PPV vs. initial number of ECD (p = 0.000138); before 3 months after Ex-PRESS shunt vs. initial number of ECD (p = 0.000138); 12 months after Ex- PRESS shunt vs. initial number of ECD (p = 0000138). Analyzing the changes in visual acuity, we observed a deterioration both before and 3 months after Ex-PRESS shunt (p = 0.007944) and before and after PPV (p = 0.060334). In turn, correlation analysis indicated that there is a statistically significant, moderate, positive relationship. The relationship between visual acuity after Ex-PRESS shunt and ECD cells/mm2 density turned out to be statistically significant (r = +0.521381; p < 0.05).
Conclusion: Regardless of the period of observation and the choice of ophthalmic treatment of diabetic complications, we observed a decrease in the number of ECD cells and a deterioration in visual acuity. It is, therefore, reasonable to provide the patient with complete information about the proposed procedures and to consider the risk-benefit balance.
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