DSEK: the partial corneal transplant

Some disease processes, like forms of Fuchs Dystrophy and select cases of corneal swelling after eye surgery, are due to dysfunction of the inside lining cells of the cornea. This layer of cells, called the endothelium, can be replaced surgically in a procedure called Descemets Stripping Endothelial Keratoplasty (DSEK). In DSEK, the endothelial lining of the cornea is removed through a small incision in the eye and replaced with a small disc of endothelial cells from a donor. The replacement of the malfunctioning endothelial cells allows the cornea to once again become clear by restoring the lost function of the endothelial cells.

DSEK is performed through small incisions and has a relatively fast recovery period. Usually, the cornea can be greatly cleared by 4 to 6 weeks after the procedure. Occasionally, however, the donor endothelial cells become dislodged from the inside of the cornea and have to be repositioned surgically or replaced entirely. Like penetrating keratoplasty, DSEK is a corneal transplant procedure, so a lifetime of eye drops and eye examinations are needed afterwards.

Vance Thompson Vision

Sioux Falls, SD

Thomas Eye Group

Atlanta, GA