If you are in need of a corneal transplant, but you prefer a less invasive procedure, a DSAEK transplant (Descemets Stripping Automated Endothelial Keratoplasty) may be a better option for you. This is especially true if you suffer from Fuch’s endothelial dystrophy, a condition that causes swelling in the cornea.
How is DSAEK Different?
Rather than removing your entire cornea, a DSAEK transplant only removes and replaces the endothelium, the innermost layer of the cornea that regulates the removal of fluid to prevent buildup and swelling. Once destroyed, endothelium cells cannot be replaced without a transplant, and it could cause blindness without the surgery.
During the procedure, the surgeon will remove unhealthy compromised cells in the endothelium and the attached Descemet’s membrane. Once the unhealthy tissues are gone, healthy cells are implanted from a donor’s cornea. The entire process is a quick outpatient procedure, taking only about 20 to 30 minutes from start to finish.
The Benefits of DSAEK
The main reason many people prefer DSAEK over a full thickness corneal transplant is a shorter recovery time. The incision for this surgery is significantly smaller, so it doesn’t require as many stitches. As a result, the eye heals faster and your vision will recover more quickly, getting you back to your normal daily routine as soon as possible.
The recovery time depends largely on how severe the corneal clouding was prior to surgery, but most patients notice improvements in vision within two to six weeks, which is significantly shorter than the 6-12 months required for recovery from traditional corneal transplant.
One of the biggest risks associated with any cornea transplant surgery is the chance that your body will reject the donor’s cornea. Rejection occurs in about 20 percent of all cornea transplants, but with DSAEK corneal transplants, the chance for rejection is more limited because you only receive a very thin layer of the donor’s cornea.
If you are suffering from corneal problems, injury, or trauma that inhibit your ability to see, come to Vision Quest to meet with our surgeons and find out whether a DSAEK corneal transplant is right for you.