DSAEK is short for Descemet’s membrane automated endothelial keratoplasty. In the normal eye, a layer of cells known as the endothelium lines the inner surface of the cornea on a membrane called Descemet’s membrane. These cells act as tiny pumps that precisely regulate the amount of fluid in the cornea to maintain its clarity.
Medical conditions such as Fuchs’ corneal dystrophy, cataract surgery and glaucoma can lead to a decreased number of these cells. This may result in swelling and clouding of the cornea, causing decreased vision and sometimes episodes of severe pain. Advances in surgical techniques have allowed us to remove only the diseased layer of the cornea and replace it with a thin layer of donor tissue containing healthy endothelial cells. We inject an air bubble to hold this graft in position for the first few days until the pumping new cells create enough suction to hold the graft in place unassisted. The patient needs to lie flat on his/her back for several days so that the air bubble in the eye pushes the donor corneal tissue against the back layer of the patient’s cornea.
Like a standard, full-thickness corneal transplant, this procedure is done on an outpatient basis. Visual recovery is more rapid after DSAEK, with stabilization of vision often occurring within three to four months after surgery. After DSAEK, vision remains more stable than it does with full-thickness corneal transplant. There is also a lower lifetime risk of graft rejection than in full-thickness transplantation.
Discover experienced eye surgery by calling 212-650-0400 or using our convenient Request an Appointment form. Patients come to us from Scarsdale, Chappaqua and Manhattan, New York, Newark, New Jersey, Greenwich, Connecticut and surrounding areas.
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