Sutureless Cornea Transplant Surgery

Posted by Admin on October 7, 2006
“I could barely see, like when I would get up in the morning everything was so foggy. The first thing that was in my mind was that, wow, maybe I’m going blind,” says Dyeane Dunn. Dyeane Dunn’s corneas were damaged. She would need a cornea transplant to replace the diseased tissue. Doctors were able to perform a sutureless cornea transplant…an innovative technique that replaces only the damaged cell layers. “This is a phenomenal procedure because it is only taking away what is bad, it is also not causing changes in the surface of the cornea so you don’t have to worry about dealing with lots of sutures later on in the eye, if patients don’t take care of them it can cause rejections later on in the eye, can cause infections, they cause astigmatism, irregularities, by putting in only what is needed it’s the best way to operate,” explains Dr. Michael Ehrenhaus of Long Island College Hospital.

The technique consists of gently stripping off the diseased cell layers lining the inner surface of the cornea. A donor cornea is thinly sliced and the inner portion folded in half for insertion through a small incision made in the white part of the eye. An air bubble is injected into the eye to unfold the donor tissue and press it up into place.

The natural pumping action of the donor cells quickly creates suction, which bonds the donor tissue to the recipient cornea. “For these patients who haven’t seen, some of them in months or even years, to re-gain vision back without them worrying about major trauma to the eye or weakness of the cornea from the sutures being put it, they get vision back within weeks or months it changes their life,” reports Dr. Ehrenhaus.

 Dyeane had the procedure a week ago and says she’s already reaping the benefits. “I’m beginning to see better and I can go out by myself now. And it doesn’t feel so scary,” says Dyeane. Candidates for this procedure include those who have had cornea scarring, trauma to the eye or complicated cataract surgery.

Also, older patients with degenerative diseases of the eye where the cornea can bulge or become cloudy due to the loss of cells as the eye ages. The procedure takes approximately one hour. A challenge with this technique is the potential dislocation of tissue that could occur when the new tissue is placed into the eye. You don’t want to bring the patient back into the operating room the next day to manipulate the tissue back into place.

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