DSEK (Descemet Stripping Endothelial Keratoplasty) Corneal Transplant

DSEK is an exciting new way to perform corneal transplants. This procedure works for patients whose corneas begin to cloud over due to endothelial dysfunction. (This surgery cannot be performed on a scarred cornea or an irregularly shaped cornea). The endothelium is a layer of pump cells on the back surface of the cornea, inside the eye. These cells pump fluid from the cornea to keep the tissue compact and clear. If the pump cells are not working the corneal swells and becomes cloudy. The most common cause for endothelial dysfunction is an inherited disease called FUCHS dystrophy. In DSEK, instead of transplanting the full thickness cornea, only these diseased pump cells are replaced.

During the DSEK, the transplanted endothelial tissue is floated into position with an air bubble. The natural pump mechanism of the endothelial cells creates suction which holds the tissue in place without sutures. The DSEK procedure requires less manipulation, the healing time is much quicker and there is more rapid visual recovery than with previous corneal transplant procedures.

  • The eye is left much stronger and more resistant to injury.
  • There is minimal change in refractive error because the patient’s cornea is essentially intact.
  • Suture-related problems can be eliminated
  • Visual recovery is significantly faster and better.
  • Posterior lamellar grafting with Descemet’s stripping offers patients better visual recovery and a less protracted clinical course than standard PKP
  • It is a great alternative for younger, more active patients bothered by glare and blurring from guttata or for the elderly who dread the long and involved postoperative course of standard PKP.
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