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A partial thickness corneal transplant (called DSAEK, DMEK, or DALK) is done to remove the diseased, infected, or scarred part of the cornea. That part is replaced with healthy corneal tissue from a person who has died. The cornea is the clear surface that covers the front of the eye.
In most cases, you will be awake during the surgery. The doctor will put medicine in your eye to numb the area. You may also get medicine to help you relax. Or you may get it to make you sleep during the surgery.
Surgical tools are used to keep your eye open. You may feel some pressure in your eye. The doctor makes a small cut (incision) in your cornea. Then he or she removes the unhealthy part of your cornea. Next, the doctor places healthy tissue inside your eye. An air bubble is used to hold the new tissue in place.
The transplant takes about 1 hour. Most people go home on the day of the surgery. But the air bubble stays in place for about 48 hours. You may be told to lie on your back at times throughout the first few days. You may also need to sleep on your back.
After the surgery, you will also need to wear an eye shield overnight. Then you will need to wear a clear eye shield or glasses to protect your eye. You'll use this until the eye has healed.
Ask your doctor when you will be able to return to work and your normal routine.
Surgery can be stressful. This information will help you understand what you can expect. And it will help you safely prepare for surgery.
Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd
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Current as of: October 12, 2022
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Carol L. Karp MD - Ophthalmology
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