Corneal Disorder Treatment

The cornea is a clear "window" through which light passes on its way into the eye and provides most of the focusing power in the eye. Corneal injury, disease, or hereditary conditions can cause clouding, distortion, and scarring.

Corneal clouding, similar to frost on a window-pane or dirty smudges on a camera lens, blocks the clear passage of light to the retina, reducing sight sometimes even to the point of blindness. In addition, corneal injury and disease can sometimes be intensely painful.

Corneal Transplants

If the cornea becomes cloudy, the only way to restore sight is to replace or transplant the cornea. Corneal transplantation (keratoplasty) is the most successful of all tissue transplants. An estimated 15,000-20,000 corneal transplants are done each year in the U.S. The success rate depends on the cause of the clouding. For example, corneal transplants for degeneration following cataract surgery and those for keratoconus both have high success rates, while corneal transplants for chemical burns have lower success rates.

Surgery is usually done as an outpatient procedure at the Spokane Eye Surgery Center and you are sent home with a patch on your eye that same afternoon. You should have minimal discomfort after surgery, and standard over-the-counter pain medications can be taken if necessary. Patients must keep the eye patched until they are seen the next day by the surgeon.

DSEK (Descemets Stripping Endothelial Keratoplasty)

Descemets Stripping Endothelial Keratoplasty" or "DSEK" is surgery to replace just the diseased endothelial (innermost) layer of your cornea. Regardless of the name, the idea is to remove the least amount of your corneal tissue and replace it with healthy donor tissue to clear the swelling of the cornea and restore your vision.

The advantages of this procedure over a conventional full thickness corneal transplant include:

  1. Faster visual recovery
  2. Less likely to require a strong glasses prescription with astigmatism
  3. Less likely to require a contact lens to achieve one's best visual acuity
  4. Less likely to reject the donor tissue
  5. Less prone to future injury
  6. Safer intra-operative procedure

Learn about corneal transplant surgery

To schedule an appointment, call (509) 456-0107