Cornea Transplants/DSEK

Even with complex procedures like corneal transplants, surgery is an option at our ambulatory surgery center. In a corneal transplant surgery the damaged cornea is replaced with a clear donor cornea.

The cornea is the front window of the eye.  When it is damaged through trauma or disease, we are one of the few practices in Indiana that can help. We specialize in corneal transplants that replace the injured or diseased cornea with a healthy clear harvested cornea.

Cornea transplant.

Cornea transplant approximately one week after surgery.
Multiple light reflections indicate folds in the cornea,
which later resolved.

DSEK (Descemet Stripping Endothelial Keratoplasty)

DSEK is a variation or method of corneal transplantation. DSEK involves only replacing some of the posterior or inner layers of the cornea as compared to the standard corneal transplantation when the full thickness of the cornea is replaced or in the anterior lamellar corneal transplants where only the anterior layers of the cornea are replaced. While both the standard corneal transplants and the anterior lamellar corneal transplants have been done for many years, surgery that only replaces the posterior layers of the cornea is relatively new. DSEK surgery is more complex than either traditional corneal transplants or anterior corneal transplants.

Some of the advantages of the surgery as compared to standard corneal transplantation are: a smaller wound and fewer stitches are needed and in some cases, no stitches are used at all; the eye heals faster and vision can return in 3-6 months compared to up to one (1) year; the eye is less susceptible to injury and rupture; one's glasses should be similar to what they were prior to surgery with smaller changes in astigmatism, nearsightedness or farsightedness; and incidence of stitches causing infection or irritation should be greatly reduced.

Some of the disadvantages of the surgery are: the surgery is relatively new and has only been done for a few years, it is not known if this method will affect how long the surgery may be good or how long the effect will last; if unusual scarring occurs between the layers of the donated cornea and your own cornea, the vision might be decreased and you could still need a standard form of corneal transplantation to improve your vision; and difficulties could occur during surgery where the surgery would have to be converted to a standard corneal transplant. Disadvantages that can also occur with standard corneal transplantation are: damage to the iris or colored part of the eye which could change the shape of the pupil or appearance of the iris; and during surgery, damage could occur to the natural lens to either speed up or cause the development of a cataract.