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Corneal Transplants


There are several types of approved corneal transplant surgery that vary in scope and technique. Penetrating keratoplasty (PK) is well established as a full thickness corneal transplant. Descemet’s stripping automated endothelial keratoplasty (DSAEK) is more recent. And Descemet’s membrane endothelial keratoplasty (DMEK) it the most recent and advanced form of partial thickness corneal transplant surgery indicated for corneal diseases affecting the innermost, endothelial layer of the cornea. 

Dr. Kim is a fellowship-trained corneal specialist who has extensive experience in performing all forms of corneal surgery. She can guide you to the appropriate treatment option by detecting exactly which layers of the cornea are affected, whether it’s the outer layer, inner layers, or the entire cornea. Dr. Kim is pleased to review PK, DSAEK, or DMEK procedures with you if a transplant surgery is indicated. She utilizes the latest diagnostic treatment technology to optimize your surgical outcome, using the most advanced transplant techniques to create a customized treatment for you. 


Corneal scar from trauma

Penetrating Keratoplasty (PK) Surgery

In PK surgery, a circular full thickness section of the old cornea is removed and replaced with a healthy donor cornea which is secured with ultra-fine sutures. PK surgery is often indicated in cases where all the layers of the cornea are diseased or scarred from keratoconus, corneal ectasia, corneal dystrophies, corneal degenerations, trauma or infection.

DSAEK Surgery

In DSAEK surgery, only the patient’s damaged endothelial layer is isolated and removed since the patient’s remaining corneal tissue is still healthy. A thin layer of donor corneal tissue that contains the healthy, endothelial layer is inserted onto the back side of the patient’s cornea.  DSAEK surgery used for patients with corneal edema due to diseases that impact the deepest corneal layer.


Post PK Surgery

Post DSAEK.jpg

Post DSAEK Surgery

DMEK Surgery

DMEK surgery is the most recent and advanced form of partial thickness corneal transplant surgery, also indicated for diseases affecting only the innermost, endothelial layer of the cornea. Only a thin layer of Descemet’s membrane and endothelium is replaced in DMEK surgery, allowing for an exact anatomical replacement of the damaged cells. No sutures are used, as a specialized air bubble technique will secure the new corneal tissue. Because less corneal tissue is affected, the recovery from DMEK is often faster and easier with a decreased rate of rejection.

Several conditions may cause corneal swelling at the innermost layer of the cornea, and are best suited for DMEK:  

  • Fuch’s endothelial dystrophy

  • Bullous keratopathy

  • Failed previous corneal transplants

  • Posterior polymorphous membrane dystrophy

  • Congenital hereditary endothelial dystrophy

  • Iridocorneal endothelial (ICE) syndrome

Contact us today

Schedule an appointment with us online or call us at (408) 358-3932.

You will receive the latest in eyecare technology from our friendly eye doctors and staff committed to serving you.

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