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What is Corneal Transplantation?

Corneal transplantation, also known as keratoplasty, is a surgical procedure that replaces the damaged parts of your cornea with donor tissues. The cornea is the surface lens and the transparent protective surface of the eye, primarily responsible for transmitting light allowing you to see clearly. If the cornea is damaged or misshapen, you may suffer from various vision problems, such as astigmatism, myopia, double vision, and more. Corneal transplants in Worcester replaces the damaged cornea with healthy donor tissues, thereby restoring optimal vision.

woman during consultation for corneal transplants in Worcester

When is Corneal
Transplantation Performed?

Corneal transplantation is performed when your cornea is damaged, leading to severe vision problems. The cornea transmits light and helps you see clearly. But when the cornea is scarred, damaged, misshaped, or bulging because of numerous underlying conditions, it can’t transmit light correctly, leading to problems with your vision. Depending on the specific condition of your cornea, you may experience blurry vision, double vision, light streaks, astigmatism, myopia, or pain and discomfort.

Who Needs Corneal

You may need a cornea transplant if you experience the following problems:

  • Keratoconus
  • Fuchs’ dystrophy
  • Torn cornea
  • Thinning cornea
  • Corneal scarring
  • Corneal infections
  • Corneal swelling
  • Corneal ulcers
  • Other corneal problems
man after corneal transplants in Worcester

Corneal Transplantation Procedures

A cornea transplant involves replacing the damaged cornea (full thickness, PKP) or parts of the cornea (lamellar transplant, e.g. DSEK vs DMEK) with healthy full thickness or lamellar donor tissue. The cornea transplant comes from deceased individuals without underlying health conditions that can affect the eyes. Donor corneas are widely available because there’s no need for tissue matching. Your surgeon may use one of three techniques to perform corneal transplants in Worcester — DSEK, DMEK, or PKP.  Your ophthalmoloist will guide you as to the best procedure for your eye.


DSEK, short for Descemet’s Stripping Endothelial Keratoplasty, is a partial thickness corneal transplant. The ophthalmologist removes the back layer of the patient’s cornea (endothelium/Descemets membrane) and replaces it with a similar thin layer of donor cornea tissue which also includes a thin layer of the stroma.  This technique is ideal for patients with a defective endothelial cornea layer. Instead of replacing the entire cornea, the eye surgeon inserts a fully functioning donor endothelium which is responsible for pumping fluid out of the cornea to keep the cornea from swelling and becoming cloudy.  DSEK is a safe and less invasive cornea transplant technique compared to a full thickness cornea transplant.  Your ophthalmoloist will guide you as to the best procedure for your eye.


DMEK, short for Descemet’s Membrane Endothelial Keratoplasty, is a more advanced partial corneal transplant technique. This surgical technique is also meant for patients with clouded corneas because of poorly functioning endothelial pumps. The eye doctor replaces the endothelial pump layer of the cornea with the same thin layer of donor tissue, making it a precise anatomical replacement for the diseased components. DMEK may result in better final best corrected visual acuity and more rapid recovery after corneal transplants in Worcester compared to DSEK depending on patient’s comorbid pathologies. Your ophthalmoloist will guide you as to the best procedure for your eye.


PKP, short for Penetrating Keratoplasty, is a corneal transplant technique that addresses issues affecting the epithelial, stromal, and endothelial layers of the cornea. The ophthalmologist uses microsurgical instruments to remove a full-thickness disc from the patient’s cornea and replaces it with a full thickness disc from the donor tissue. This procedure is a full-thickness corneal transplant — not a partial or lamellar replacement. This type of transplant is more appropriate for patients with a damaged middle cornea layer, called the stroma.  Diseases or pathology affecting the stroma include infections and multiple types of different stromal dystrophies, including keratoconus. Your ophthalmoloist will guide you as to the best procedure for your eye.


DALK, short for Deep Anterior Stomal Keratoplasty is another option for some patients with stromal pathology that allows preservation of the patient’s normal endothelium.  Your ophthalmoloist will guide you as to the best procedure for your eye.

Schedule an Appointment

Medical Surgical Eye Institute is a premier eye care center specializing in cutting-edge corneal transplantation techniques, such as DSEK, DMEK, and PKP. Our ophthalmologists perform regular eye exams to help you maintain optimal eye health and treat potential eye conditions at the earliest stage possible. Our comprehensive approach helps you maintain optimal vision and eye health for a lifetime. Please schedule an appointment to explore your options for corneal transplants in Worcester.

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