About Cornea Transplants
At Ophthalmology Associates of the Valley in Encino and West Hills, Los Angeles, our group performs partial thickness corneal transplants for people who have symptoms associated with cornea disorders or injuries. If your cornea becomes injured, we can gently excise the damaged tissue and replace it with healthy tissue from a donor. Our expert ophthalmologists use state-of-the-art technology to produce the best outcomes during your transplant surgery. Known for its high success rates, we use a common cornea transplant technique called Descemet's Stripping Automated Endothelial Keratoplasty or DSAEK. DSAEK is a partial-thickness corneal transplant. When utilizing the DSAEK method, the damaged endothelial cells are removed and replaced with healthy donor tissue. Because this approach is partial-thickness transplant surgery, the donor tissue is slimmer in comparison to a full corneal transplant. Another procedure used is called DMEK or Desmet’s Membrane Endothelial Keratoplasty which uses an even thinner layer of tissue to replace the disease cells. Both DSAEK and DMEK offer quicker recovery and faster return to normal vision than full thickness cornea transplant surgery.
Cornea Transplant Reviews
"Last week I required an emergency eye appointment after a foreign object flew into my eye. This foreign object was lodged in the center of my vision, right smack-dab in the center of my pupil, piercing my cornea. I was TERRIFIED. I was seen by a local optometrist [ in Valencia] who referred me to Dr. Elkins. (Only an opthamologist is qualified to remove something in that critical part of the eye.) So I drove to Encino to be seen by Dr. Elkins. He was very professional and caring; I truly appreciated him dropping everything to take care of my eye. He made me feel comfortable and relaxed through this stressful experience, and at the follow up appointment assured me my eye had healed as if it never happened! Thank you Dr. Elkins! :)The office staff was also very friendly and courteous!"- C.C. / Yelp / Mar 16, 2010
"I was so grateful to be seen so quick and find out why I had pain in my eye. The staff took me right away, did all the necessary tests and diagnosed the problem as a scratch in my cornea. The staff was not only efficient and professional but also very personable."- D.H. / Demandforce / Dec 19, 2020
Generally, cornea transplants are most effective for patients who suffer from uncomfortable symptoms, including:
- Corneal scar tissue
- Foggy, blurry, or warped vision
- Constant liquid accumulation within the cornea
Also, a partial-thickness transplant can help patients who have keratoconus or Fuchs’ dystrophy. Please schedule a consultation with one of our expert ophthalmologists to learn more about the procedure, and we can help you determine if it’s right for you. During this appointment, we will conduct a comprehensive eye exam. If a cornea transplant is selected to help improve your eyesight, our team will develop a tailored treatment plan.
A cornea transplant is performed as an outpatient procedure. We begin your appointment by administering anesthesia to help keep you comfortable. During your procedure, the middle part of your cornea is gently excised and interchanged with a healthy patient’s tissue. The eye that needs treatment is held open by a small device to avoid any movement. Based on the kind of corneal transplant that you need, our expert doctors will eliminate the entire thick layer of the cornea or just the endothelial part. If you need a full thickness cornea transplant, after properly positioning the donor cornea, we precisely sew the healthy tissue to your eye. Next, we may place a contact lens that works as a bandage, which protects your eye and promotes healing. During your procedure, we may use the following techniques, such as:
- DSAEK: Partial-thickness Descemet's Stripping Automated Endothelial Keratoplasty or DSAEK is an outpatient procedure and only takes about 20 – 30 minutes to perform. At the beginning of your appointment, we will use eye drops to completely numb the eye and then remove the damaged endothelial layer. Next, we make a small incision and place the donor tissue within the inner corneal layer. Our skilled ophthalmologists utilize air to gently guide the tissue into the precise location. Once the new cornea has naturally joined with your eye, you should experience restored visual acuity and reduced symptoms. Following your surgery, the incision will naturally heal on its own, or we will use 1 or 2 sutures.
- Penetrating keratoplasty (PKP): Penetrating keratoplasty is a full-thickness cornea transplant technique used during your surgery, and it only takes about an hour to perform. Before your procedure, we use specialized eye drops to numb your eye. Once your eye is fully numb, we excise the damaged part of your cornea and replace it with the healthy tissue. Generally, the healing period for this advanced treatment can take up to a year, but many patients see a dramatic improvement in their visual acuity much sooner. After 6 – 12 months, we will remove the sutures, but this is based on if you have astigmatism.
What to Expect
After your procedure, we will provide detailed post-operative instructions to ensure your eye heals correctly. At first, it may seem like the healing is slow, but you will have great, long-term results to anticipate. If you need a corneal transplant for each eye, you may need to wait a year before undergoing your second surgery. Following your procedure, it’s vital that you closely follow the aftercare directions to achieve optimal results. Additionally, we will schedule an appointment to monitor your healing and eye health. If we used a DSAEK technique during your procedure, here are a few things to keep in mind:
- DSAEK: After your DSAEK transplant, you should start to notice great improvement to your eyesight in about 2 – 3 months or sooner. Within about 5 – 6 months following your operation, your vision should improve significantly. DSAEK has an exceedingly high success rate for many patients who undergo the procedure with only 5% donor tissue rejection. If your body starts to reject the donor tissue, we can perform another procedure to help repair your vision and ocular health. You must attend all of your follow-up appointments to ensure your eye is healing properly.
Discover Your Options
Cornea transplant surgery is an excellent treatment option that provides extremely high rates of success and effectively treats a variety of corneal problems and diseases. At Ophthalmology Associates of the Valley in San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles, CA, our skilled ophthalmologists are always abreast of the latest research and knowledge about corneal disorders and procedures. We use complex techniques, such as DSAEK and PKP, to help you see better and improve your quality of life. If you suffer from a decrease in eyesight, please call one of our locations in Los Angeles, CA to schedule a private consultation with one of our board-certified eye doctors.