Arena Eye Surgeons in Columbus and Delaware, Ohio is a leading provider of this treatment.  

For those with cornea disease, Descemet's Stripping Automated Endothelial Keratoplasty (DSAEK) provides an option that wasn't previously available. Previously, those with diseases affecting the cornea had no choice but to have their entire cornea removed and replaced with a donor. Using DSAEK, however, doctor's can remove only the affected corneal tissue, leaving behind up to 80% of the patient's original cornea.

The Procedure

During DSAEK, the doctor first cuts the donor cornea to the desired thickness. He then folds the donor cornea and inserts it into the patient's eye through a small incision. Once it is in place behind the patient's own cornea, the doctor unfolds the donor tissue. He then use an air bubble to float the donor cornea up into the tissue of the patient's own cornea where the two will bond together without sutures.

DSAEK Advantages

DSAEK offers several advantages over a traditional cornea transplant. These include:

• A smaller incision and less invasive procedure
• A healed eye that is less susceptible to injury
• Faster healing
• Increased surgical safety
• Decreased risk of corneal tissue rejection
• A more stable prescription for corrective lenses

DSAEK Possible Disadvantages

No surgical procedure is perfect or completely without risks. Some of the potential disadvantages of DSAEK are that:

• There is a chance that the donor cornea would not fuse with the patient's (occurs in less than 10% of patients)
• The patient's vision problem may not clear, indicating the need for further surgery
• Swelling and scarring may make it necessary to do a full cornea transplant
• Problems can occur if cataracts are not corrected before the DSAEK surgery
• Infection or other surgical complications

In the unlikely event that a patient has a problem with DSAEK surgery, most issues can be solved by following up with a traditional cornea transplant.  Discuss this option with your doctor at Arena Eye Surgeons to evaluate whether this option is a good fit for your personal situation. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to ask us!

Post-Op Care

As with all surgical procedures, the risks of the surgery are minimized when the patient carefully follows post-operative instructions. After DSAEK, patients will be asked to recline or lie flat for 36 hours to ensure the air bubble used to push the donor cornea against the patient's stays in place. Several doctor’s visits will be needed to check healing and it is important for the patient to attend them all. Patients will also need to avoid touching and rubbing the eyes, in spite of a sensation that there is something in the eye. This sensation is normal and will subside in a few days.