Racial/ethnic differences in rates of penetrating or endothelial keratoplasty for fuchs endothelial corneal dystrophy among US medicare beneficiaries

Michael A. Mahr, Keith Baratz, David O. Hodge, Jay C. Erie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Scopus citations


Importance: Fuchs endothelial corneal dystrophy (FECD) is the most common indication for corneal transplant in the United States. The association between race/ethnicity and incidence of advanced FECD, defined by a need for endothelial or penetrating keratoplasty, has not been investigated. Observations: The 2014 US Medicare Limited Data Set (5%sample of 27 163 740 fee-for-service Medicare patients) was analyzed for rate of keratoplasty performed for FECD (International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Edition code 371.57), stratified by race/ethnicity. Among all Medicare beneficiaries 65 years or older, a diagnosis code for FECD was used in 1.55%(95%CI, 1.51%-1.59%) of white and 1.38%(95%CI, 1.26%-1.50%) of African American beneficiaries who had an ophthalmologist eye examination in 2014 (P = .01). Among beneficiaries who obtained medical care for FECD, keratoplasty was 1.9 times more likely in white than African American patients (4.7%; 95%CI, 4.2%-5.2%vs 2.5%; 95%CI, 1.1%-3.9%; P < .001) among approximately 6500 patients undergoing 8420 procedures. Conclusions and Relevance: In 2014, keratoplasty was 1.9 times more likely in US Medicare fee-for-service white patients than African American patients with FECD. This might be caused by racial/ethnic differences in the biology of FECD, access to care, or other unidentified factors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1178-1180
Number of pages3
JournalJAMA Ophthalmology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2016


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology

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