Corneal Transplantation Surgery

About Corneal Transplantation Surgery

Sometimes the cornea is so damaged that a transplant is necessary. At Columbia, we are world-renowned for corneal transplants We offer the following procedures:

  • Penetrating Keratoplasty – full-thickness cornea transplant
  • Lamellar Keratoplasty ­– partial thickness cornea transplant
  • Descemet's stripping endothelial keratoplasty (DSAEK) – a partial corneal transplant to treat corneal edema or swelling
  • Descemet’s Membrane Endothelial Keratoplasty (DMEK)

DSAEK is also called the "sutureless corneal transplant," since it does not require stitches. DSAEK has some advantages over traditional corneal transplants. These include faster vision recovery, a stronger eye, a lower risk of rejection, and a lower risk of conditions that can be caused by stitches, such as astigmatism and infections.

For DSAEK, the eye doctor removes or "strips" damaged endothelial cells and places a partial corneal transplant in the eye. As with traditional corneal transplant, this cornea is usually donated from an eye bank. The eye doctor then injects an air bubble into the eye to attach the partial corneal transplant to the surface of the person's original cornea. There are no stitches needed to attach the partial transplant. The natural pumping action of the endothelial cells helps create a suction that keeps both the original and transplanted layers of cornea together. Patients who receive this type of transplant will probably start seeing within two weeks, as compared to the approximately six months required to stabilize with a traditional transplant. (DSAEK) and Descemet’s Membrane Endothelial Keratoplasty (DMEK). 

Why Choose Columbia?

The Cornea Service at Columbia now provides two different methods of endothelial keratoplasty, Descemet’s Stripping Automated Endothelial Keratoplasty (DSAEK) and Descemet’s Membrane Endothelial Keratoplasty (DMEK). Columbia ophthalmology has the most advanced corneal transplantation techniques in the country.