DSEK for Fuchs’ Dystrophy, Performed In Our Las Vegas Offices

Patients suffering from the symptoms of Fuchs’ Dystrophy can undergo the successful DSEK procedure, performed in our Las Vegas office.

Fuch’s Dystrophy is an inherited disease affecting the endothelial layer of the cornea. The cornea is comprised of three layers: the epithelium, the stroma, and the endothelium. The endothelium controls the cornea’s fluid content by pumping out excess aqueous fluid that can cause swelling and blurred vision. Fuch’s Dystrophy causes small bumps of collagen to form instead of endothelial cells. The disease is progressive and usually by middle age there are too few endothelial cells left for the cornea to be able to keep itself dry enough for clear vision.

This is when most people schedule an appointment with their eye doctor. Once an ophthalmologist has done a comprehensive eye examination and determined the patient has Fuch’s Dystrophy, there are two treatment options. In the past ophthalmologists could only offer corneal transplant to correct this condition. However, only the endothelial layer of the cornea is damaged; the other layers are healthy and don’t need to be replaced.

Today, there is a second option:Descent’s Stripping Endothelial Keratoplasty or DSEK. This procedure is performed in an outpatient setting at our Las Vegas clinic where the patient is given eye drops and injections to numb the eye. The ophthalmologist will then make a tiny incision, and strip away the diseased tissue. A thin disc of donor tissue containing healthy endothelial cells is then gently folded and placed on the back surface of the cornea. An air bubble is injected into the eye to hold the new tissue in place. The incision is so small that it is usually self-healing. After the procedure, the patient is asked to lie flat for about an hour to allow the air bubble to keep pressure on the new tissue holding it in place. The patient is then discharged and asked to lie flat as much as possible for the next 24 hours. Follow-up is usually at the clinic the next day. Vision can be blurry immediately after the procedure; however, most people return to work within a week with complete recovery usually being achieved in less than 3 months.