If you suffer from vision problems due to keratoconus, corneal scarring, corneal ulcers, or other cornea problems, a cornea transplant is often the best way to correct your vision. At Des Peres Eye Center in St. Louis and Arnold, Missouri, board-certified ophthalmologist Eric Chiu, MD, performs cornea transplants using the latest state-of-the-art techniques. Schedule your appointment online or by phone today.
Your cornea acts as a window for the colored part of your eye, the iris. It’s made up of five tissue layers. Damage or disease can compromise the shape and clarity of your cornea, leaving you with blurry vision.
In cases where cornea problems interfere with your vision significantly, you may need a cornea transplant to replace some or all of your corneal tissue.
In a partial thickness cornea transplant, Dr. Chiu replaces the endothelium, the innermost layer of your cornea. Your endothelium pumps fluid out of your cornea regularly. Without a properly functioning endothelium, you quickly develop fluid buildup, and your cornea grows foggy.
During the Descemet's stripping and automated endothelial keratoplasty (DSAEK) procedure, also known as the ultra-thin DSAEK transplant, Dr. Chiu removes your endothelium, and then carefully folds the donor tissue to place it in your eye in the same place as your original endothelium.
Next, Dr. Chiu injects an air bubble below the new tissue to push it into the optimal position. Thanks to the natural pumping behavior of the endothelium, the new tissue quickly attaches to the rest of your own cornea.
Dr. Chiu performs DSAEK procedures on an outpatient basis and uses local anesthesia in combination with sedation to ensure your comfort.
In a full thickness cornea transplant, medically called penetrating keratoplasty, Dr. Chiu removes your entire cornea and replaces it with a healthy new donor cornea. Dr. Chiu secures your new cornea with tiny sutures.
Usually, Dr. Chiu removes the stitches gradually in the coming year, but it depends on your needs and situation. It may take around a year to recover full vision after a full thickness cornea transplant, and you'll typically use glasses or contacts during this period.
You'll need to rest, laying flat as much as possible for at least 48 hours to allow proper attachment of the donor tissue. Dr. Chiu will prescribe necessary medications, including eye drops and oral medication to minimize swelling, reduce pain, and prevent infection. You may wear an eye patch to encourage healing and prevent damage.
As long as you're committed to caring for your eyes properly, your cornea transplant can successfully restore your sight.
Book your appointment now to learn more about cornea transplant options by calling Des Peres Eye Center or clicking the online scheduler.