When the cornea becomes infected, damaged, or weakened by severe keratoconus, corneal transplants performed at our Pomona, NY, practice can be used to restore health to the eye.
A corneal transplant involves replacing part of your cornea (the clear, dome-shaped front surface of the eye) with donor tissue. Drs. Richard Gordon and Sonia Belliappa will conduct an in-depth analysis of your eyes to determine whether you are a suitable candidate for this treatment, in addition to explaining all of your treatment options and answering your questions.
If you would like to learn more about corneal transplants, schedule a consultation with one of our renowned ophthalmologists today.
Traditional vs. DSAEK Corneal Transplants
Traditional full-thickness corneal transplants require the removal of a disc of button-sized tissue from the cornea before replacing it with the same amount of donor tissue.
For the right candidates, Dr. Beliappa can perform a partial thickness corneal transplant using a technique called DSAEK (descemets stripping automated endothelial keratoplasty). When compared to traditional corneal transplants, performing a DSAEK transplant is less invasive. It is similar to a traditional corneal transplant, but it involves replacing only the innermost layer of the cornea, leaving the healthy outer corneal tissue intact. As a result, patients undergoing DSAEK transplants can experience a shorter procedure and faster recovery. During a consultation, your ophthalmologist can determine which treatment is best for you.
Before surgery, anesthesia will be administered to ensure your comfort. If you are receiving DSAEK, Dr. Belliappa will remove the endothelium, the innermost layer of the cornea. Next, she will place a thin disc of donor tissue containing a healthy endothelial cell layer on the back surface of the cornea. A carefully administered air bubble will hold the graft in place until it heals.
A full-thickness corneal transplant involves removing a portion of the cornea comprising all layers, from the epithelium (outermost layer) to the endothelium, and replacing it with healthy donor tissue. Dr. Belliappa or Dr. Gordon will secure the graft with small sutures.
Immediately following DSAEK surgery, you need to wear an eye patch at all times and get plenty of rest. You will continue wearing the eye patch at night for the next several weeks. Your surgeon may also prescribe steroid eye drops to improve your healing. Your vision will be blurry for up to several months as the transplanted tissue integrates. These recovery stages are longer following full-thickness corneal transplant surgery.
Most DSAEK patients return to work within about one week, but must avoid any actions that could damage the surgical site. Full-thickness corneal transplant patients may require more downtime. You should immediately notify your doctor of any severe discomfort, changes in vision, redness, or light sensitivity. These could be symptoms of more serious complications, such as the rejection of your transplant. Dr. Belliappa or Dr. Gordon can help you fully understand the recovery process during a personal consultation. As you heal, you will attend follow-up appointments to monitor your recovery.
Learn More about Corneal Transplants
If you are experiencing vision complications, or if you have received a diagnosis requiring the attention of an ophthalmologist with extensive experience in corneal medicine, contact us today to schedule a consultation.