At Visionary Eye Doctors, our specialists perform traditional, full-thickness corneal transplants (penetrating keratoplasty), as well as corneal grafts that involve replacing only part of the cornea. Thanks to innovative technology and scientific advances, this common procedure is not as daunting as many people might think.
At Visionary Eye Doctors, we offer the following options for corneal transplant:
PKP: Penetrating keratoplasty is often referred to as traditional corneal transplant surgery because it replaces the full thickness of the cornea. During the procedure, a “button” of tissue is removed from the diseased or injured cornea using either a surgical cutting instrument called a trephine or a femtosecond laser. A matching “button” from the donor tissue is then positioned and sutured into place. The sutures, which are finer than a human hair, are left in place for several months to a year or more after surgery.
DSAEK: Descemet’s stripping and automated endothelial keratoplasty replaces only the damaged endothelium – the innermost layers of cells within the cornea – while leaving the healthy parts intact. This allows our surgeons to use a much smaller incision, reducing recovery times and risks as compared to a traditional corneal transplant.
DMEK: Descemet’s membrane endothelial keratoplasty (DMEK) is a partial-thickness corneal graft operation in which only Descemet’s membrane and endothelium are replaced. DMEK is the most advanced form of partial corneal transplant procedure indicated in diseases affecting the innermost, endothelial layer of the cornea. In DMEK surgery, only a single thin layer of cells is replaced, allowing for an exact anatomical replacement of the damaged cells. This technique allows for decreased rates of rejection and faster visual recovery. The other benefit of DMEK is better potential vision (more patients seeing 20/20).
Alternative to Corneal Transplant: PTK
Some corneal conditions, such as certain dystrophies, scars, and infections, are eligible for treatment with phototherapeutic keratectomy (PTK). This is an innovative alternative to corneal transplant for carefully selected patients. PTK utilizes a computer-guided excimer laser to precisely vaporize layers of damaged or diseased corneal tissue, effectively removing the surface irregularities.