How Does DSAEK Cornea Transplant Work?

The clear dome that covers the pupil is known as the cornea. When portions of the cornea degrade due to disease, previous surgeries, or other factors, vision can become impaired. The skilled vision experts at Eye Physicians and Surgeons, P.A. in Wilmington, DE, can perform an advanced transplant surgery called Descemet’s stripping automated endothelial keratoplasty (DSAEK) to restore volume and function to the innermost layer of the cornea.

Are You a Candidate?

The cornea consists of three layers: the epithelium, stroma, and endothelium. DSAEK addresses injuries to the endothelium, the innermost layer of the cornea. The endothelium provides nutrients and regulates fluid levels to the nearby stroma.

Candidates for DSAEK have experienced endothelium failure, which can result from complications following eye surgery, Fuch’s Dystrophy, disease, pseudophakic corneal edema, or failed corneal graft, among other reasons. The cells of the corneal endothelium do not regenerate. Following the loss of a significant amount of endothelial cells, the cornea may not be able to maintain proper thickness, which can lead to impaired vision.

One of our doctors will determine your candidacy during an exam at our Wilmington eye care center. Candidates for DSAEK are in the early stages of the disease and have a stable eye that is free of elevated intraocular pressure or macular edema. Certain diseases and conditions can complicate candidacy for DSAEK.

DSAEK cornea transplant.

How Does DSAEK Work?

DSAEK removes diseased portions of the cornea and replaces the damaged tissue with healthy donor tissue. The DSAEK procedure requires a much smaller incision than traditional corneal transplant surgery. The less invasive form of surgery allows for a shorter recovery and lower risk for complications. Improvements in the quality and availability of precut DSAEK tissue means that the surgery will not require harvesting of the patient’s own tissue. The use of donor tissue allows for reduced surgical time.

Once local anesthesia is used to numb and immobilize the eye, the doctor will make a small incision on the surface of the cornea. Next, an impression of the corneal epithelium will be made, and the diseased tissue will be removed as one piece. A visual inspection will be made to ensure that no tissue remains in the cornea.

The doctors of Eye Physicians and Surgeons, P.A. can perform DSAEK to restore volume and function to the innermost layer of the cornea.

The doctor will then use one of multiple potential placement techniques to position the donor graft in place. Once the donor tissue is placed, the incision will be sutured to ensure that the graft does not shift or escape. Following surgery, patients should rest still, relax, and minimize movement for at least 24 hours. Ideally, patients should remain flat on their back for that period of time. Topical steroids and antibiotics will be administered as directed by one of our doctors. Follow-up visits will be scheduled to ensure that the graft is properly positioned and healing.

Schedule Your DSAEK Consultation Today

The doctors at Eye Physicians and Surgeons, P.A. in Wilmington are regional leaders in the field of eye care. DSAEK can restore vision and function following damage to the endothelium. We accept CareCredit® and major forms of medical or vision insurance. To schedule your next visit, contact our office online or call (302) 652-3353.

Staff at Eye Physicians and Surgeons, P.A.

Eye Physicians and Surgeons, P.A.

Eye Physicians and Surgeons, P.A., has been a trusted fixture in the community for more than three decades. Our caring, expert staff is affiliated with the:

  • American Medical Association
  • American Academy of Ophthalmology
  • Delaware Academy of Ophthalmology

Call us at (302) 652-3353, use our online form to request a consultation, or email us.

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"Wonderful staff and lots of friendly faces. Everyone eager to answer questions and make your visit a pleasant experience. Cataract surgery with Dr. Minkovitz was terrific - his surgical staff was efficient and helpful. Thanks Eye Physicians and Surgeons!"

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