Ophthalmology Associates of Bay Ridge is proud to have a corneal specialist trained in all the latest techniques for corneal transplantation. There are many serious conditions that may require corneal transplantation, including keratoconus, Fuchs dystrophy, and pseudophakic bullous keratopathy. In keratoconus, the cornea changes shape over time, causing thinning and scarring in severe cases. While earlier stages of the disease can be treated with rigid gas permeable contact lenses, advanced cases frequently require full thickness corneal transplantation.
The back surface of the cornea contains a layer of cells called endothelial cells, whose function is to pump fluid out of the cornea and keep it dry. In Fuchs dystrophy and pseudophakic bullous keratopathy, these endothelial cells die and the cornea begins to swell with fluid. This causes clouding of the cornea and decreased vision. When these diseases are advanced, corneal transplantation may be required to restore vision. The traditional method of transplantation is called penetrating keratoplasty, or a full thickness corneal transplant. A full thickness transplant can restore corneal clarity quickly, but the visual recovery can take up to one year due to the significant amount of astigmatism caused by stitches used to hold the cornea in place. Recent advances in corneal surgery have allowed doctors to transplant only the back surface of the cornea, which contains the endothelial cell layer, without the need for stitches as used in standard transplantation. This layer can be inserted through a small incision in the front of the eye. This exciting new technique, called Descemet Stripping Automated Endothelial Keratoplasty (DSAEK or DSEK), can improve visual recovery significantly and also reduce the risk of eye damage from accidental blunt injury. Our corneal specialist is one of only a few doctors in the Brooklyn area who performs the DSAEK procedure.
For patients requiring a corneal transplant, our corneal specialist will review the surgical options available and discuss whether DSAEK may be a suitable alternative to standard corneal transplantation.