Efficacy of treatments for neurotrophic keratopathy: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Sébastien Roumeau, Frédéric Dutheil, Vincent Sapin, Julien S. Baker, Stephanie L. Watson, Bruno Pereira, Frédéric Chiambaretta, Valentin Navel*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Management of NK can be difficult, involving a range of treatments with variable efficacy. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to evaluate the efficacy of medical and surgical treatments for neurotrophic keratitis (NK). 

Method: PubMed, Cochrane Library, Embase, ClinicalTrial.gov, and ScienceDirect were searched for studies assessing efficacy of NK treatments. We computed random-effect meta-analyses on corneal healing, time to complete healing, and visual acuity changes between baselines and after treatment, stratified on treatment classes. We followed the PRISMA guidelines (registration number CRD42021225721). 

Results: We included 20 studies: 571 patients and 5 treatment classes (2 surgical and 3 non-surgical). The percentage of patients with complete corneal healing did not differ between specific treatments (nerve growth factor eyedrops (NGF), 75%, 95CI 46 to 104%; autologous serum (AS), 92%, 86 to 98%; neurotization, 99%, 95 to 103%; amniotic membrane transplantation (AMT), 86%, 78 to 94%). All specific treatments had better percentage of complete healing (p < 0.001) than non-specific treatment groups, i.e., mainly lubricants (23%, 14 to 32). Time to complete healing was 24.2 days (5.4 to 43.1) with NGF, 27.6 days (15.2 to 40.0) with AS, 117 days (28.8 to 205.2) with neurotization, and 16.4 days (11.1 to 21.7) with AMT. Only NGF and AMT improved visual acuity. Efficacy outcomes were not affected by sociodemographic (age, sex) nor severity of disease (Mackie stages). 

Conclusion: We confirmed the efficacy of specific treatments in NK. Further comparative trials are needed to investigate the medical and economic benefits of innovative therapies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2623–2637
Number of pages15
JournalGraefe's Archive for Clinical and Experimental Ophthalmology
Issue number8
Early online date7 Mar 2022
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2022

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

User-Defined Keywords

  • Blood products
  • Corneal ulcer
  • Grafts
  • Medication
  • Nerve
  • Surgery


Dive into the research topics of 'Efficacy of treatments for neurotrophic keratopathy: a systematic review and meta-analysis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this