BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Medical Policy Manual



Keratoprosthesis (KP) is an artificial cornea that is intended to replace the opacified corneal tissue and restore vision when severe bilateral corneal disease exists (e.g., prior failed cadaveric corneal transplant, chemical injury or certain immunological condition). Many people with corneal disease can benefit from corneal transplantation involving tissue from human (cadaveric) donors. This is the most common treatment for severe corneal opacity. However, in some cases, this treatment fails. KP has been developed for use when corneal transplant is not an option. A permanent keratoprosthesis device (i.e., Boston KPro) is implanted in the eye to allow the transmission of light through an artificial cornea.

Other keratoprosthesis devices (e.g., AlphaCor™, KereKlear™) and devices with a unique procedural approach such as the osteo-odonto-keratoprosthesis (OOKP) are available for individuals who have corneal blindness and have failed or are not candidates for human corneal transplantation. However, the clinical evidence for the other keratoprosthesis devices and the OOKP procedure is lacking and change in disease status, quality of life, and treatment-related morbidity are uncertain.





Two permanent keratoprostheses have received 510(k) marketing clearance by the FDA: the Dohlman Doane Keratoprosthesis, also referred to as the Boston Keratoprosthesis (KPro), and the AlphaCor™, previously known as the Chirila keratoprosthesis (Chirila KPro).


Ahmad, S., Akpek, E.K., Gehlbach, P.L., Dunlap, K., & Ramulu, P.Y. (2015). Predictors of visual outcomes following Boston type 1 keratoprosthesis implantation. American Journal of Ophthalmology, 159 (4), 739-747. Abstract retrieved July 9, 2015 from PubMed database.

Ahmad, S., Mathews, P., Lindsley, K., Alkharashi, M., Hwang, F., Ng, S., et al. (2016). Boston type 1 keratoprosthesis versus repeat donor keratoplasty for corneal graft failure. A systematic review and meta-analysis. Ophthalmology, 2016; 123:165-177. (Level 1 evidence)

Aldave, A.J., Kamal, K.M., Vo, R.C., & Yu, F. (2009). The Boston type 1 keratoprosthesis: improving outcomes and expanding indications. Ophthalmology, 116 (4), 640-651. Abstract retrieved July 10, 20215 from PubMed database.

American Academy of Ophthalmology (2013, September) Preferred Practice Pattern: Corneal Edema and Opacification. Retrieved April 11, 2017 from:

BlueCross BlueShield Association. Medical Policy Reference Manual. (3:2017). Keratoprosthesis (9.03.01). Retrieved April 10, 2017 from BlueWeb. (21 articles and/or guidelines reviewed)

Bradley, J., Hernandez, E., Schwab, I., & Mannis, M. (2009). Boston type 1 keratoprosthesis: the University of California Davis experience. Cornea, 28 (3) 321-327. (Level 4 evidence - Independent study)

Davies, E. & Chodosh, J. (2016). Infections after keratoprosthesis. Current Opinion in Ophthalmology, 27 (4), 373-377. Abstract retrieved June 24, 2016 from PubMed database.

Goins, K. M., Kitzmann, A.S., Greiner, M. A., Kwon, Y. H., Alward, W. L., Ledolter, J., et al. (2016). Boston type 1 keratoprosthesis: visual outcomes, device retention, and complications. Cornea, Epub ahead of print. Abstract retrieved June 24, 2016 from PubMed database.

Hicks, C., Crawford, G., Lou, X., Tan, D., Snibson, G., Sutton, G,, et. al., (2003) Corneal replacement using a synthetic hydrogel cornea, AlphaCor: device, preliminary outcomes and complications. Eye (London). 2003 Apr;17(3):385-92. Abstract retrieved April 11, 2017 from PubMed database.

Hoffart, L., Chalres, G, and Matonti, F. (2015, January-February) Lamellar corneal lenticule graft to treat keratolysis after AlphaCor keratoprosthesis implantation. European Journal of Ophthalmology. 2015 Jan-Feb;25(1):1-7. Abstract retrieved April 11, 2017 from PubMed database.

Jiraskova´ , N., Rozsival, P., Burova, M., and Kalfertova, M. (2011) AlphaCor™ artificial cornea: clinical outcome. Eye (2011) 25, 1138–1146. (Level 4 evidence)

Lee, W., Shtein, R., Kaufman, S., Deng, S., and Rosenblatt, M. (2015). Boston keratoprosthesis: outcomes and complications: a report by the American Academy of Ophthalmology. Ophthalmology, 122 (7), 1504-1511. Abstract retrieved July 9, 2015 from PubMed database.

Liu, C., Paul, B., Tandon, R., Lee, E., Fong, K., Mavrikakis, I., et. al. (2005) The Osteo-Odonto-Keratoprosthesis (OOKP) Seminars in Ophthalmology, 20:113–128. (Level 4 evidence)

Srikumaran, D., Munoz, B., Aldave, A.J., Aquavella, J.V., Hannush, S.B., Schultze, R., et al. (2014). Long-term outcomes of Boston type 1 keratoprosthesis implantation: a retrospective multicenter cohort. Ophthalmology, 121 (11), 2159-2164. Abstract retrieved July 10, 2015 from PubMed database.

U. S. Food and Drug Administration. (2002, August). Center for Devices and Radiological Health. 510(k) Premarket Notification Database. K013756 (AlphaCor™). Retrieved March 31, 2011 from

U. S. Food and Drug Administration. (2013, May). Center for Devices and Radiological Health. 510(k) Premarket Notification Database. K121203 (Boston KPro). Retrieved April 11, 2017 from




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