What Is DSAEK/DMEK Surgery?
Descemet’s stripping automated endothelial keratoplasty (DSAEK) and Descemet’s membrane endothelial keratoplasty (DMEK) are partial thickness corneal transplants performed to replace the innermost portion of the cornea.
The main difference between the two surgeries is that, unlike DSAEK, DMEK does not include any stromal tissue, but is instead a pure replacement of endothelium. A DMEK graft, therefore, is much thinner than a DSAEK graft.
Advantages of these surgeries over a full thickness transplant include:
● Decreased risk of tissue rejection
● Quicker visual recovery
● Fewer activity restrictions
● Potential for better vision as compared to full-thickness corneal transplant surgery
Who’s A Good Candidate for a DSAEK or DMEK Surgery?
DSAEK and DMEK are best suited for patients with conditions related to the endothelial cells, which include:
● Fuchs’ endothelial dystrophy
● Iridocorneal endothelial syndrome
● Bullous keratopathy
● Congenital hereditary endothelial dystrophy
● Corneal edema due to complications from other types of eye surgery
A full-thickness corneal transplant will still be required for patients with corneal scarring or other conditions such as keratoconus.
After your transplant
For the first few weeks after surgery, your vision will be blurry as the cornea heals. Immediately following surgery you will be required to wear an eye patch and may be advised to lie down on your back and face the ceiling for the first 24-48 hours. Antibiotic and steroid eye drops will be prescribed by your corneal surgeon and detailed instructions will be given to you after the surgery.