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Corneal Transplants

The DSEK Corneal Transplant: A milestone in eye surgery

The corneal transplant is one of the world’s most common, and successful, transplant procedures, with some 30,000 performed each year in the U.S. alone. But even this time-tested procedure can be improved upon, which is why the Christenbury Eye Center offers the sate-of-the-art DSEK corneal transplant.

DSEK stands for Descement Stripping Endothelial Keratoplasty, a major breakthrough in cornea transplant surgery. Patients who qualify for DSEK enjoy a much faster recovery and an improved overall quality of vision. What’s more, they are much less likely to experience transplant tissue rejection. At the Christenbury Eye Center, cornea transplants are performed by Dr. Casey Mathys, a board-certified, fellowship-trained corneal and refractive surgeon and an expert in both traditional corneal transplants and DSEK surgery.

What are the advantages of the DSEK Corneal Transplant?

DSEK offers significant advantages for both the patient and the surgeon:

  • A DSEK Corneal Transplant takes less time to perform and can be combined with cataract surgery.
  • Potential for tissue rejection is greatly reduced since DSEK involves transplanting a thin layer of corneal tissue rather than a full thickness graft.
  • Traditional corneal transplantation requires a minimum of 16 stitches while DSEK takes only about three stitches. This helps the cornea retain its natural shape of the cornea and reduces suture-related complications.
  • The eye remains much stronger and is less at risk for injury after DSEK.
  • Vision quality is improved.
  • Patients regain vision within approximately 3 months with DSEK compared to a full year or more with traditional corneal transplants.
  • Most DSEK corneal transplant patients only need a minor adjustment to their prescription after surgery and some may not even need to wear glasses or contact lenses. Traditional corneal transplant patients need to wear hard contact lenses or strong prescription glasses to restore their sight.

What types of patients qualify for a DSEK corneal transplant?

Whether a patient qualifies for DSEK depends on the condition of the cornea. DSEK is only performed when the damage or disease is limited to the cornea’s endothelial layer, which keeps the cornea clear by pumping out excess fluid in the tissues. When trauma or certain medical conditions affect the endothelial cells, fluid builds up. This causes the cornea to swell, leading to vision loss. Fuch’s Dystrophy and Pseudophakic Bullous Keratopathy are two examples of eye conditions that can benefit from DSEK transplantation. For patients who do qualify for DSEK corneal transplant, the procedure has major advantages.

For more information about corneal transplants and whether you might qualify for the new DSEK procedure, please contact the Christenbury Eye Center at 877-702-2020.

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