The cornea is the clear portion of the eye that allows light to enter the eye. Like an onion, there are many layers to the cornea. The inside layer, called the endothelium, is the most important. The endothelium contains special cells that help pump out the fluid that builds in the cornea to help keep it clear and compact.
When the endothelial pump no longer works, fluid builds up in the cornea, which causes decreased vision and pain. In the past, ophthalmologists would perform a full thickness corneal transplant to remove the entire cornea and replace it with a new one. This required many sutures and a long recovery time.
Now, Silk Vision & Surgical Center has two newer surgical techniques called DSEK and DMEK. Both these procedures are partial corneal transplants where we only remove the bad layer of the cornea and replace it with a similar donor tissue.
The recovery time is much quicker with these procedures with less sutures and complications such as graft rejection.
With DSEK (Descemet’s stripping endothelial keratoplasty) both the endothelial layer of the cornea as well as part of the stromal layer are transplanted into the eye. This technique is technically easier to perform than DMEK as the tissue is a little thicker and easier to manipulate in the eye.
The recovery period and visual improvement are very good but not as good than DMEK because the tissue is slightly thicker and can obstruct the light entering the eye.
DMEK (Descemet’s membrane endothelial keratoplasty) is the latest advancement in partial corneal transplantation. This technique is more difficult than DSEK because the tissue is very thin and fragile.
The recovery time and the safety are similar to DSEK however the visual outcome is better.
If you think that you may be a candidate for DSEK or DMEK, please call our office at Silk Vision & Surgical Center for a consultation. Dr. Silk and his expert staff are happy to help make the process as smooth and easy as possible!