The transparent front part of the eye that covers the iris, pupil, and anterior chamber, providing most of an eye’s optical power. The cornea has unmyelinated nerve endings sensitive to touch, temperature and chemicals; a touch of the cornea causes an involuntary reflex to close the eyelid. Because transparency is of prime importance the cornea does not have blood vessels; it receives nutrients via diffusion from the tear fluid at the outside and the aqueous humour at the inside and also from neurotrophins supplied by nerve fibers that innervate it.
The cornea is the only part of a human body that has no blood supply; it gets oxygen directly through the air. The cornea is the fastest healing tissue in the human body, thus, most corneal abrasions will heal within 24-36 hours.
Dr. Lee Webster is performing the latest, advanced procedure in cornea transplantation. This cutting-edge procedure is named Descemets Stripping Endothelial Keratoplasty, or DSEK for short.
DSEK has replaced the traditional full thickness cornea transplant, known as Penetrating Keratoplasty, in a number of patients. A countless number of these patients have a cornea disease involving only the most inner layer of the cornea, the DSEK procedure replaces just the abnormal layer, leaving the remainder of the healthy cornea untouched; where the traditional procedure replaced the whole cornea in its entirety.
The advantages of DSEK are numerous and significant. One, the procedure is safer, well tolerated, and performed under local anesthesia. Two, the healing time is much faster, as DSEK patients often regain vision in a mere few weeks compared to many months or even a year with the traditional procedure. And last, the DSEK procedure has only a slight effect on the patient’s glasses prescription while the traditional procedure may cause dramatic changes and the induction of tremendous astigmatism.