Three types of corneal transplants

The cornea, the transparent front “window of the eye”, is responsible for about two thirds of the focusing power of the eye.

Corneal tissue can become damaged through disease or trauma.  This damage can cause scar tissue and opacities in the normally-clear cornea, resulting in a reduction in visual acuity.

If the cornea develops visually significant opacities or irregularities, a corneal transplant procedure can be performed. A corneal transplant involves replacing a diseased or scarred cornea with a new cornea or specific corneal layers tissue.

What are the differences between PK, DSAEK and DMEK?

(full thickness traditional cornea transplant)
(partial thickness posterior cornea transplant)
DMEK (Single layer of cells and supporting membrane)
Typical time for visual improvement 6-12 months 4-6 weeks 2 weeks
Rejection rates at 2 years 17% 9% .7%
Visits for suture adjustment 6-12 visits 2-3 visits 1
Time of surgery 45-60 mins. 45-60 mins. 15-20 min.
Wound size 7.5 mm diameter circle 3.2 mm linear Less than 2.4 mm
Graft thickness 550 microns 60-100 microns 10 microns
Sutures 16 1-2 1
Contact lens required Rigid gas permeable (often) Not required None
Induced astigmatism High regular and Irregular astigmatism possible Minimal to no induced astigmatism None
Indications for surgery Cornea scar, keratoconus, pellucid marginal degeneration, corneal ulcer Fuch’s endothelial dystrophy, cornea edema, pseudophakic bullous keratopathy Fuch’s endothelial dystrophy, cornea edema, pseudophakic bullous keratopathy