Corneal Transplant Surgery in Wilmington – Delaware Eye Surgeons
Corneal transplant surgery (keratoplasty) is performed to replace the patient’s cornea with a healthy cornea from a donor, which is obtained from an eye bank.
When performed under the care of skilled Delaware Eye Surgeons, a corneal transplant can restore vision and reduce discomfort associated with corneal diseases and conditions, thereby improving patients’ quality of life.
Standard Corneal Transplant Surgery
A standard, or full-thickness, transplant involves the surgical removal of the central corneal tissue, which is then replaced with healthy donor tissue and secured in place with sutures. The procedure is performed on an outpatient basis under local anesthesia.
Recovery time following standard corneal transplant surgery may last up to 12 months, during which time our Wilmington cornea transplant patients are provided with medicated eye drops and antibiotics and must wear an eye shield to prevent injury to the newly placed cornea. Frequent eye exams are essential to the success of the procedure.
Although full-thickness corneal transplantation is a relatively safe procedure, it is associated with rare but serious complications, including rejection of the donor cornea, in which the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks the donor tissue.
DSEK Corneal Transplant Surgery
Whenever possible, Dr. Smith prefers to perform the advanced DSEK corneal transplant surgery. Unlike full-thickness corneal transplant surgery, the DSEK procedure involves the surgical replacement of only the damaged inner layers of the cornea. In this technique, the back layer of the cornea is removed and replaced with a thin piece of donor tissue through a small incision in the eye. The donor tissue is secured in place with an air bubble that is injected into the eye to push and hold the new tissue in place. The incision is closed with one small suture.
Compared to standard corneal transplant surgery, the less-invasive DSEK procedure has several advantages, including:
- A smoother corneal surface
- Stronger corneal integrity
- Fewer sutures
- Faster recovery (several weeks versus several months)
- Reduced chance of donor tissue (graft) rejection
- Decreased risk of suture complications and wound infections
- Quicker vision improvement
Full recovery following DSEK is usually achieved within a few weeks.
Corneal Transplant Surgery Candidacy
A thorough eye exam is necessary to determine each patient’s candidacy for corneal transplant surgery. In general, the patient’s candidacy greatly depends on his/her medical history and any additional eye diseases and conditions. Unrelated eye problems such as inflammation or infection may interfere with the success of the corneal transplant.
DSEK corneal transplant surgery is only suitable for patients whose corneal problems involve the inner most layer of the cornea (endothelium).
Please contact our practice at (302) 993-1300 to schedule your corneal transplant surgery consultation or use our online appointment request form.