Corneal edema is a swelling of the cornea, which is the transparent dome at the front of the eye (similar to a window) which covers the iris.
The cornea works with the lens to refract light and help the eye to focus. It must be clear for us to have sharp vision. When the cornea swells, it is often because of a problem with the endothelial layer of the cornea. The endothelial layer makes up the inner layer of the cornea and consists of a network of cells, called the endothelium. The endothelium cells pump fluid in and out of the cornea to maintain its clarity. But these cells can be damaged by both trauma and disease.
Once these cells are damaged, they cannot repair or replace themselves. The result is corneal edema, which causes clouding of the cornea and blurred vision.
The only way to fix the endothelial layer of the cornea is to replace it. In the past, this required a traditional full-thickness corneal transplant, or corneal graft. The entire cornea was removed, replaced with donor corneal tissue from an eye bank, and stitched together.
Today, however, a newer, less invasive procedure is available. “Descemet’s Stripping Endothelial Keratoplasty” (DSAEK or DSEK), also known as a partial-thickness corneal transplant, is an alternative to the corneal graft. This procedure involves replacing only the thin endothelial layer of the cornea with donor endothelial tissue. With an experienced surgeon like Dr. Ilan Cohen, the procedure takes less than 30 minutes, requires only a small incision with few stitches, heals faster and vision returns sooner (in a matter of weeks).There is also less risk of rejection because the majority of the cornea remains in place.
At the 5th Avenue Eye Center, Dr. Ilan Cohen can diagnose corneal edema with a detailed eye examination. Dr. Cohen is a skilled and respected board certified ophthalmologist who received his fellowship training in Corneal and Refractive Surgery at the renowned Vanderbilt University. See what his colleagues and former patients have to say about his expertise.
If you have any questions at all or simply want to learn more about DSAEK, DSEK, corneal grafts or laser vision correction procedures such as LASIK NJ, LASIK NY in Manhattan, Glendale NY, the greater New York area, or Old Bridge, New Jersey and surrounding cities, we welcome you to email us, call (212) 764-2020 or (866) 731-3937, or visit us in person.