DSAEK is a new type of partial-thickness corneal graft operation in which only the inner endothelial cell layer is replaced, instead of the entire thickness of the cornea being replaced as in a conventional full-thickness graft (penetrating keratoplasty).
A very common cause of a cloudy cornea is a damaged inside, or endothelial, layer of the cornea. The endothelial layer is one cell layer thick and can be damaged by surgery, trauma or the cells can degenerate over time as in a condition known as Fuchs’ Dystrophy. When there are not enough endothelial cells, water can build in the cornea causing cloudy vision and vision loss. DSAEK is a highly refined technique that replaces just the endothelial layer of the cornea, allowing surgeons to target the specific cause of the patient’s vision loss. The DSAEK procedure allows damaged cells to be stripped from the patient’s cornea and replaced with a very thin back portion of a donor cornea. This procedure allows your surgeon to target and replace only the damaged area of cornea, allowing a more precise treatment and better overall results. Dr. Smith & Dr. Sawyer use an air bubble technique to hold the new tissue in place in the eye for the entire day of surgery so that no sutures are needed.
Fuchs’ Dystrophy patients are the primary group of patients needing a DSAEK procedure. Fuchs’ endothelial dystrophy (FED) is a degenerative disorder of the corneal endothelium leading to corneal edema and loss of vision.
Call our office to schedule an evaluation with Dr. Smith if you think you may be a candidate for the DSAEK procedure.
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