Corneal dystrophies are a group of genetic eye disorders in which abnormal material accumulates on the cornea, the clear, transparent front portion of the eye. These eye disorders can cause swelling in the cornea, leading to blurred vision. Over time, permanent vision loss can occur.
Patients who have been diagnosed with a corneal dystrophy may be candidates for a corneal transplant procedure. Descemet’s Membrane Endothelial Keratoplasty (DMEK) is one such procedure that involves removing the old Descemet’s membrane and corneal endothelium (the innermost portion of the cornea) and replacing it with a donor membrane and endothelium. The procedure is an alternative to standard corneal transplants that remove the full thickness of the cornea. Because it is a partial corneal transplant, DMEK results in faster healing and visual recovery than standard corneal transplants.
With many years of experience, the cornea specialists at Texas Eye and Laser Center have performed countless corneal procedures, including DMEK. Combining expert training and skill with the most up-to-date technology and surgical methods, Texas Eye and Laser Center have helped patients restore clear and healthy vision with DMEK.
When Is DMEK Appropriate?
DMEK is designed to treat blurry vision caused by a dysfunction of the endothelium. When an eye loses too many endothelial cells, it is not able to maintain the proper corneal thickness and clarity, resulting in distorted vision. Endothelial failure can be caused by disease (e.g., Fuchs’s Dystrophy) or trauma following cataract or glaucoma surgery. Since DMEK is a partial corneal transplant, it is an appropriate treatment option when there is corneal clouding due to a dysfunction of the endothelium but the other layers of the cornea remain healthy. Prior to treatment our team will carefully examine your eye in order to determine whether DMEK or another surgical option is best.
About the Procedure
DMEK is an in-office procedure that takes approximately 30 minutes to complete. To begin, your eyes will be numbed with a topical anesthetic to minimize discomfort. Your eye surgeon will then make a small incision on the side of the cornea to access the diseased endothelial layer. This layer will then be peeled from the back of the cornea, leaving the healthy remainder intact. Healthy corneal tissue (known as a donor disc) will be placed inside the eye, replacing the diseased layer. Once complete, a bandage will be placed to protect your eye and aid in healing.
After the procedure, our team will provide you with a comprehensive list of guidelines to follow during your recovery process. Some discomfort is to be expected following surgery. Our team may prescribe medications to help minimize discomfort and aid healing. You are advised to rest as much as possible, with your head elevated as much as possible for the first 24 hours after surgery. Regular follow-ups with our team are required in order to monitor your healing progress. Our team will determine when it is safe to resume normal activities after meeting with you during a follow-up appointment.
Contact Texas Eye and Laser Center
To discuss your eye concerns or to learn more about DMEK, please schedule a one-on-one consultation with Texas Eye and Laser Center. Please call (817) 540-6060 today.