About Cornea Transplants
Corneal transplantation was the first type of transplant performed on a human, and it continues to be one of the most frequently performed procedures in the United States. At Focal Point Vision in San Antonio, TX, our board-certified ophthalmologists perform the DMEK (Descemet’s Membrane Endothelial Keratoplasty) and DSEK/DSAEK (Descemet’s Stripping Endothelial Keratoplasty/Descemet’s Stripping Automated Endothelial Keratoplasty), depending on the layer of corneal tissue that is compromised. To learn more, schedule a consultation with a member of our team.
Benefits Of Cornea Transplants
DSEK/DSAEK and DMEK offer numerous benefits over full cornea transplants to treat corneal issues, including:
- Procedures are faster
- Increases potential for better vision
- Less tissue needs to be removed
- Healing and recovery are quicker
- Return of visual acuity is faster
- Less risk of post-surgery astigmatism
- Fewer restrictions on activities
In addition to these shared benefits, DMEK offers further benefits like:
- Can provide better vision outcomes
- An even shorter recovery period
- Can be paired with IOLs (intraocular lenses)
- Lowered risk of rejection
- Less refractive error
Corneal Transplant Techniques
At Focal Point Vision, our ophthalmologists perform two different types of corneal transplant techniques:
- DSEK (DSAEK) is offered for individuals who have problems within the endothelium, including Fuchs’ endothelial dystrophy and Iridocorneal endothelial syndrome (ICE). This technique can also benefit patients who have had an endothelial keratoplasty.
- DMEK is a surgical technique performed for people with Fuchs’ corneal dystrophy and corneal endothelial dysfunction. DMEK does not affect the shape of the cornea.
DMEK and DSEK FAQ
Do DMEK and DSEK procedures hurt?
No, they don’t. Before the procedure begins, your doctor will numb your eyes with anesthetic drops. Most patients, if they feel anything at all, report only a mild sense of pressure. During the recovery process, some patients may experience mild discomfort, but this is easily controlled with pain relievers. During your consultation at Focal Point Vision, we will go through all the steps from the procedure to the recovery process.
Are DMEK and DSEK safe?
According to a report published by the American Academy of Ophthalmology, DMEK and similar procedures were found to be safe and effective for the treatment of endothelial failure. There were some data showing DMEK to be marginally better than DSEK with less recovery time and rejection rates in addition to less refractive error.
How much better will my vision get after a DMEK or DSEK procedure?
Most patients can experience a dramatic improvement in their eyesight, with many achieving 20/25 vision or better after DMEK and 20/30 or better after DSEK.
How long is recovery after a DMEK or DSEK procedure?
While every patient has their own healing response, most patients will recover in about seven days while refraining from strenuous activities for 2 – 4 weeks. During the first seven days post-surgery, the vision in the treated eye can be poor. It can take up to 3 – 6 weeks for vision to recover, during which time vision will typically gradually improve.
Do I Need A Corneal Transplant?
Corneal transplants are safe and effective for patients with damage to the cornea tissue, wherever it may exist. At our esteemed eye center, board-certified ophthalmologists Drs. Maverick and Lehmann perform different techniques to address your unique situation. Schedule a consultation with a member of our team to find out if a corneal transplant is what you need for your ocular health.