The cornea is known as the “window of the eye,” protecting the eye from infection and foreign material and focusing or refracting light. The cornea needs to be clear and the correct shape for you to see accurately. When it becomes cloudy or misshapen, a cornea transplant may be necessary. Read on to learn about the latest technique in corneal transplantation called the DSAEK procedure.
What is DSAEK?
DSAEK is short for Descemet-Stripping Automated Endothelial Keratoplasty. It is a less-invasive procedure that gives the patient clear vision and a shorter recovery time than with traditional corneal transplantation methods. Conventional surgery requires 16 surgeries and a prolonged recovery time, plus many patients experience astigmatism after surgery, with full recovery taking up to two years.
What happens during the DSAEK Procedure?
During this outpatient procedure, the patient is given topical anesthesia so they don’t feel anything. The damaged endothelial layer is replaced, while the remainder of the cornea is left undisturbed. The new cornea is inserted through a tiny incision that needs one suture for closure. The surgeon then injects an air bubble underneath the cornea to make sure it is centered on the eye.
What is recovery like?
The DSAEK Procedure offers a shorter post-op recovery, fast visual recovery and less chance of rejection than conventional surgery. Patients will take antibiotics and steroid eye drops and return the next day for post-surgical follow-up. Some patients may need a second air bubble injection to re-center the cornea. Patients will need to use eye drops for several years to help with anti-rejection.
What will my vision be like after surgery?
You can expect blurry vision immediately after surgery due to swelling and the air bubble used to center the cornea. When the bubble dissolves and swelling dissipates, your vision will improve. Some patients will need to wear new glasses during healing.
When can I expect full results?
It may take up to three months for your best vision to reveal itself.
If you are interested in learning more about corneal transplants and the DSAEK Procedure, set up a consultation by calling Maehara Eye Surgery & Laser at 808.955.3937.