Corneal Transplants and DSEK
Your eye doctor may suggest a corneal transplant for reasons varying from diseases to eye injuries, which can include the following:
- Scarring from infections, such as eye herpes or fungal keratitis.
- Eye diseases such as keratoconus.
- Excessive swelling on the cornea.
- Hereditary factors
- Thinning of the cornea and irregular shape (such as with keratoconus).
- Chemical burns on the cornea or damage from an eye injury.
A corneal transplant may be the only hope for restoring vision. The corneal transplant is one of medicine’s most successful transplant operations.
Traditional Corneal transplantation surgery (Penetrating Keratoplasty) involves removing the central area of the diseased cornea and replacing it with a clear donor cornea. A specialized instrument, similar to a cookie cutter, is used to remove the diseased cornea. The surgeon then uses stitches to secure the clear donor cornea in place. This takes between one and two hours and is an outpatient procedure. An eye patch and shield are used to protect the eye after surgery, but removed the next day.
In addition to the traditional technique described above, an innovative new cornea transplant technique is available at A Center for VisionCare. Rather than replace the entire cornea, this new technique replaces only the damaged cell layer of the cornea. The technique, known as Descemet’s Stripping with Endothelial Keratoplasty (DSEK), provides faster and stronger healing than traditional corneal transplant surgery. Changes in the focusing power of the eye are more predicatble with DSEK than with traditional, full thickness corneal transplants.