Cornea Center

Corneal Transplants

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corneal_transplantA corneal transplant, also known as penetrating keratoplasty, is a surgical procedure in which the surgeon removes the central portion of the cornea (called a button) and replaces it with a donor cornea. Corneal transplants are performed on patients with damaged or scarred corneas. The damage may have been caused by disease or trauma. Corneal transplants are extremely delicate procedures, but they have a high rate of success.

Fuch’s Dystrophy

Fuch’s dystrophy is a slowly progressing, inherited disease that usually affects both eyes and is slightly more common in women than in men.  Although doctors can often see early signs of Fuch’s dystrophy in people in their 30’s and 40’s, the disease rarely affects vision until a person reaches their 50’s and 60’s.

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Fuch’s dystrophy occurs when endothelial cells gradually deteriorate without any apparent reason.  Once lost, these cells do not grow back.  As more endothelial cells are lost over the  years, the cornea, the clear front window of the eye, becomes less efficient at pumping water out.  This causes the cornea to swell and to distort vision.  Eventually, the epithelium also takes on water, resulting in blurry vision and discomfort as the cornea swells.

Symptoms

Corneal swelling damages vision in two ways:

  • Changing the cornea’s normal curvature
  • Causing a sight impairing haze to appear in the tissue.

In the early stages of Fuch’s dystrophy a person will awaken with blurred vision that will gradually clear during the day.  This occurs because the cornea is normally thicker in the morning, and it retains fluids during sleep that evaporate while we are awake.

Treatment

Medical
When treating the disease, doctors will try first to reduce the swelling with eye drops, ointments or soft contact lenses.  They may also instruct a person to use a hair dryer,
held at arm’s length or directed across the face, to dry out the  epi-helial blisters.  This can be done two or three times per day.
Surgical
Descemet’s Stripping Endothelial Keratoplasty, also know as DSEK, is a procedure that can be done to treat Fuch’s Dystrophy.  With this procedure, a thin layer of cornea (descemet layer and endothelial cells) is removed from donor and inserted into the eye through a small incision.  An air bubble is injected to properly position the cornea in place.  This procedure is performed with topical anesthetic to minimize any potential discomfort.  DSEK is known to have a quicker recovery time and your vision will improve.  DSEK can be repeated due to occasional rejection.

Fuch’s dystrophy is a slowly
progressing, inherited disease that
usually affects both eyes and is slightly
more common in women than in men.
Although doctors can often see early
signs of Fuch’s dystrophy in people in
their 30’s and 40’s, the disease rarely
affects vision until a person reaches
their 50’s and 60’s.
Fuch’s dystrophy occurs when
endothelial cells
gradually deteriorate
without any apparent reason.  Once
lost, these cells do not grow back.  As
more endothelial cells are lost over the
years, the cornea, the clear front
window of the eye, becomes less
efficient at pumping water out.  This
causes the cornea to swell and to
distort vision.  Eventually, the
epithelium also takes on water,
resulting in blurry vision and
discomfort as the cornea swells.View Video

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Our Location

Center for Sight
3160 J Street
Sacramento, CA 95816-4403

800-828-EYES916-446-2020FAX:916-446-3128