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What is DMEK?

DMEK, short for Descemet’s Membrane Endothelial Keratoplasty, is one of the most advanced partial corneal transplant techniques available. If your cornea is cloudy or damaged, leading to blurry vision, the eye doctor can remove and replace the diseased parts of the cornea with healthy donor cells. Cornea donors don’t need to be tissue-matched, so they’re easily available without waiting lists. During the DMEK procedure, the eye doctor removes and replaces the diseased endothelial tissues at the back of the cornea via extremely small incisions.

The endothelium pump cells located at the back of the cornea generally release fluid to keep the cornea clean and clear. Underlying medical conditions, such as Fuchs’ dystrophy and external injuries, can damage the endothelium pump cells, which leads to distorted and blurry vision. DMEK is the purest corneal transplantation technique because it only replaces the damaged cells — perfect anatomical replacement. This procedure minimizes the risk of infections and rejection and ensures optimal healing.

When is DMEK Performed?

DMEK is an advanced corneal transplant procedure suitable for patients with eye pathologies affecting the innermost layers of the cornea, i.e., the endothelial layer. When the endothelium pump cells are damaged or diseased, they can’t perform their function of cleaning the cornea, leading to blurry vision. The DMEK cornea transplant technique can address the following medical conditions: Fuchs’ endothelial dystrophy, posterior polymorphous membrane dystrophy, congenital hereditary endothelial dystrophy, iridocorneal endothelial (ICE) syndrome, bullous keratopathy, and failed previous corneal transplants.

The following signs and symptoms indicate you may need a DMEK cornea transplant:

  • Blurry vision at all distances
  • Blurry vision when looking at distant objects
  • Double vision
  • Light streaks in your vision
  • Cloudy vision
  • Eye pain and discomfort

Your DMEK Cornea
Transplant Experience

Medical Surgical Eye Institute performs a highly personalized DMEK cornea transplant after a thorough evaluation and diagnosis. During the procedure, the eye doctor administers numbing eyedrops and a local anesthetic to ensure optimal comfort. The eye doctor will make an extremely small incision to remove the diseased endothelial layer of the cornea, following which an exact anatomical tissue graft is placed. This procedure only replaces the diseased cell layer with no added tissues or thickness. The procedure concludes within 45 minutes.

Recovery After DMEK
Corneal Transplantation

You will have to lie down flat on your back for the first few days after surgery to help the tissue graft attach to your cornea without problems. You will be asked to lie down flat for 45 minutes every hour for the first few days. The eye doctor will also prescribe antibiotic eyedrops to prevent infections. You can resume most of your daily activities and work after about 48 hours, with some exceptions. Your vision will gradually improve after several weeks.

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 carefully examine your eyes, discuss your symptoms, and administer corneal imaging tests to curate the ideal treatment plan. If you notice the signs and symptoms of corneal detachment, corneal injuries, or other corneal problems, please schedule an appointment to explore your treatment options in Worcester.

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Contact Us (508) 853-2020