The cornea is the transparent front part of the eye covering the iris and the pupil. When disease or an injury have damaged the cornea, functional vision can be impaired and it may be necessary to consider replacing it with a graft of healthy tissue.
Cornea transplants are performed at Dakota Eye Institute and include Penetrating Keratoplasty (PK), Descemet Stripping Automated Endothelial Keratoplasty (DSAEK), or Descemet Membrane Endothelial Keratoplasty (DMEK).
More About PK
Penetrating Keratoplasty indication include keratoconus, cornea scars, and abnormally thin corneas. The surgery involves removing the full thickness of the abnormal cornea and replacing it with a full thickness cornea transplant. The transplanted tissue is secured with several sutures and heals over the course of several months. The surgery can be performed with monitored or general anesthesia. Typically, no patient positioning is required following surgery.
More About DSAEK
Descemet Stripping Automated Endothelial Keratoplasty indication include diseases of the inner cornea, called endothelium. Most commonly, the diseases include Fuchs corneal dystrophy, pseudophakic bullous keratopathy (cornea swelling after intraocular surgery), or endothelial disease from another cause. The advantages to DSAEK over PK are smaller incisions, quicker healing time, and often less risk. DSAEK is often combined with cataract surgery. DSAEK requires patients to position after the surgery as an air bubble will be placed in the eye to temporarily support the transplant.
More About DMEK
Descemet Membrane Endothelial Keratoplasty indications also include diseases of the cornea endothelium. The indications for DMEK are narrower than DSAEK and are typically limited to Fuchs corneal dystrophy and pseudophakic bullous keratopathy. The advantages include faster healing, possibility for better vision following the surgery and less chance of corneal rejection. DMEK requires the smallest incision of all the cornea transplants and is often combined with cataract surgery. DMEK requires patients to position after the surgery as a gas or air bubble will be placed in the eye to temporarily support the transplant.