A corneal transplant involves replacing a diseased or scarred cornea with a new one. It is an outpatient procedure that takes approximately 45 minutes to perform. An instrument called a trephine is used to remove the center part of the cloudy cornea. The donated clear cornea is placed in the opening and the surgeon sews it into place using a fine thread. The stitches stay in for months or even years until the eye heals properly. The patient also uses eye drops to prevent rejection of the transplant. Traditional corneal transplants are most often indicated for patients suffering with keratoconus.
Corneal Surgery (DSAEK & DMEK)
Both Descemet’s Stripping Automated Endothelial Keratoplasty (DSAEK) and Descemet’s Membrane Endothelial Keratoplasty (DMEK) are less invasive versions of the traditional corneal transplant. Dr. Lohman and Dr. Jones were among the first surgeons in our area to perform DSAEK, and Dr. Jones is one of the few corneal surgeons to routinely use DMEK as a treatment option. DSAEK and DMEK surgeries resemble conventional corneal transplant surgery in that both require the use of a donor cornea. However, during DSAEK surgery, instead of replacing the entire damaged cornea, the surgeon replaces only the damaged posterior section of the cornea. Because the donor tissue size is smaller, it requires less suturing than a traditional cornea transplant. This results in more rapid vision recovery, less discomfort, and reduces transplant complications.
During DMEK surgery, the surgeon removes only a single layer of damaged tissue and replaces it with a thin disc of healthy tissue. Instead of suturing this microscopic layer of cells in place, an air bubble is used to position it. This incredibly delicate surgery has led to even more rapid visual improvement for patients, with better results, than ever before.
Our caring, committed doctors and staff at Eye Surgeons will be happy to discuss which corneal procedure is best for you.