About Corneal Transplants
Whether you have an inherited eye disorder or a trauma has caused damage to your cornea, you will need to seek treatment at some point to restore your vision. At Waite Vision, our board-certified ophthalmologist, Dr. Aaron Waite, is skilled to perform DMEK (Descemet's membrane endothelial keratoplasty) and DSEK (Descemet's stripping endothelial keratoplasty) on patients suffering from damaged or diseased corneas to help restore clearer vision. These surgeries, considered partial thickness transplants, replace the affected or diseased portions of the cornea with donor tissue while keeping the outer layers of the eye intact, allowing for greater visual recovery. Our Lehi, UT facility, Waite Vision, is equipped to perform corneal transplants on-site in our AAAASF accredited surgical facility. To find out which of these procedures is most suited for your condition, we invite you to schedule a consultation at your earliest convenience.
"In January I found out i had cataracts, & they made my vision pretty bad. Everything was blurry, even wearing my glasses didn’t help. In February I went into Waite vision for a consultation & had both my eyes checked. I was able to have cataract surgery on both my eyes. It has made a tremendous difference in how I can see. My vision is better now, than it ever has been. The staff & Dr Waite are so personable, & treat you like family. Dr Waite explained the whole process of my cataract surgery, while he was doing it. He made me feel comfortable during the whole procedure. I would highly recommend going to Waite vision."- I.S. / Google / Apr 20, 2019
"Went to Dr. Waite for kerataconus, his staff is extremely friendly and its not the typical dull office feeling you get when visiting a doctor. I had epi-off cross linking done on both eyes, the procedure itself is completely painless and recovery although painful is manageable. My vision was back to usable within a week and back to how it was prior to the procedure within a month. If you are considering getting cross linking done or have been recently diagnosed with kerataconus I would highly recommend Waite Vision."- K.W. / Google / Apr 18, 2019
"My vision was not well enough to read without wearing a pair of reading glasses. I had my vision screened for lasik correction and was not a candidate. Two years later, I had a vision screening at Waite Vision and learned that my vision could be improved with a refractive lens exchange (RLE) surgery. I had my vision corrected and now I am able to see without ever putting on a pair of reading glasses! I received incredible care by Dr. Waite and his staff. I am so grateful to Dr. Waite to be able to see clearly. My results are better than I expected. I rate Dr. Waite five star for his skill, knowledge, and great professionalism."- K.M. / Google / Apr 15, 2019
"I absolutely love love love! Waite Vision and I am so happy I decided to go see Dr. Waite. When I decided to go get laser correction they had told me I was not a candidate where I had previously gone, but then I heard of Waite vision and decided to go give it a try and I do not regret it one bit! Dr. Waite took care of me vision and now I am seeing better than I hoped, I highly recommend Waite vision to anyone!"- A.A. / Google / Apr 12, 2019
"Spectacular!I am so pleased with the results of my recent surgery. No more multiple back-up readers, wondering where I set them down, etc. etc.My biggest problem was remembering I didn't need to put my readers on (or find them) when I sat down at a computer or picked up my phone or q book! I can order dinner at a restaurant once again, without dredging the readers out, which I could not do at most places before.Dr. Waite and his staff are professional and courteous but beyond that knowledgeable and highly skilled. This is an amazing procedure I would highly recommend through Waite Vision."- C.S. / Google / Apr 11, 2019
The best candidates for DMEK or DSEK corneal transplants are patients who suffer from damage to the cornea either from a traumatic injury or disease. In the later stages of Fuchs' dystrophy, DMEK may be suggested based on what stage it is in. When the constant swelling and fluid buildup in the cornea impact vision to the point of significant loss, corneal transplants can relieve a patient of the eye pressure and improve vision without a full corneal transplant.
During a consultation prior to treatment, Dr. Waite will determine the best method for your corneal transplant. The two procedures are performed slightly differently, as described below.
The DMEK procedure is performed in less than an hour (about 30 minutes) in an outpatient setting. Your Dr. Waite will numb your eye with a local anesthetic before making the first incision to remove the existing endothelial layer from the weakened cornea. Once the endothelial layer is cleared, he will insert the donor cornea (ten microns of the inner layer). The new cornea will be properly positioned with the use of gas (air bubble) until it unfolds. You may or may not need a suture to close the incision as it sometimes seals on its own.
As an outpatient procedure, Dr. Waite will perform your DSEK procedure in about 15 – 20 minutes. You will lie flat on your back as we do our best to make this procedure as comfortable for you as possible. After a local anesthetic (numbing drops) desensitizes the eyes, the damaged or diseased portion of the cornea (about 100 microns of the inner layer) will be eliminated. The incision will be very small, and the donor tissue will be placed on the back of the innermost layer of the cornea. Dr. Waite will use air to push and reposition the donor cornea into place. Once the tissue adheres to your cornea, it should resume normal functionality. The incision will then be closed with 1 – 2 sutures if it does not seal up on its own.
What to Expect
On average, a DMEK patient will obtain 20/25 vision within the first six months after the surgery. Many of our DMEK patients report that they have better vision 1 – 2 months after surgery. While there is always the possibility of donor tissue rejection, recent studies show that DMEK has a 0.7% donor tissue rejection rate. If the first DMEK procedure does not take, the donor tissue will be removed and substituted with a replacement tissue.
After DSEK surgery, you should be able to see better within 2 – 3 months. By the fifth or sixth month, you can expect to have 20/40 vision. The DSEK has a very high success rate with only 9% of donor tissue rejection after the first year. If the donor cornea is rejected, the procedure can be performed again. It is important to keep all follow-up appointments with your eye care provider so that your progress can be documented and monitored to avoid complications after the surgery.
Corneal transplants are often covered by insurance companies. Waite Vision will work directly with your insurance company to determine your benefits and whether you will have any out-of-pocket costs. Any expense that you will be responsible for will be discussed with you prior to the scheduling of your surgery. Our support staff can help you afford your portion of the surgery with financing options. Please contact Waite Vision to learn more.
Repair & Revise Your Sight
If you would like to learn more about your opportunities for correcting your vision with DMEK, DSEK or other corneal transplant procedures, please call our Lehi, UT office. We look forward to meeting you. At Waite Vision, we are continually striving to better the lives of our patients by renewing their sight. We hope to serve you in restoring the vision that you deserve.