The study was done to report the clinical outcomes of autologous minor salivary gland transplantation (MSGT) for the treatment of severe dry eye disease caused by cicatrising conjunctivitis.

This was a retrospective case series of patients undergoing MSGT at four different centres. The technical modifications included en bloc harvesting of a 20 mm×15 mm mucosa–gland–muscle complex and fixation of the glands to the superior bulbar surface anchored to the superior rectus muscle.

21 eyes of 19 patients underwent MSGT, with a median follow-up duration of 3 years. The median BCVA improved from a baseline value of 20/500 to 20/125 at 1 year (p=0.0004) and 20/80 at 3 years (p=0.0002) after surgery. The proportion of cases with BCVA ≥20/200 improved from 38% at baseline to 67% at 1 year (p=0.0294), 78% at 2 years (p=0.0227) and 93% at 3 years (p=0.0015) after surgery. There was a significant improvement (p<0.0036) in Schirmer scores, conjunctival and corneal staining scores as well as grades of corneal neovascularization and opacification after surgery. There were no serious sight-threatening complications in the transplanted eyes or at the donor site.

The study concluded that long-term improvement in the visual acuity, ocular surface environment, and keratopathy was noted after MSGT performed in severely dry eyes using a modified technique.