DSAEK & Pterygium Surgery Q & A
A pterygium, or stye, is an eye condition which causes the development of a pink growth near the white of the eye. This noncancerous growth usually appears on the side closest to the nose and can cause discomfort. When the growth interferes with vision it can be treated by an ophthalmologist. Usually, steroid drops or vasoconstrictor eye drops are used prior to surgery. If these do not help, surgery is performed to remove the growth. The process takes approximately 30 to 45 minutes and patients are able to return to their normal activities in about a week.
Descemet’s Stripping Automated Endothelial Keratoplasty, or DSAEK, is a surgical technique used in corneal transplants. When the cornea becomes cloudy, hazy, or if the shape is irregular it can interfere with a person’s vision. When the interference becomes severe, a corneal transplant is used to restore a patient’s vision. When the inner layer of the cornea, known as the endothelial layer, is damaged it can cause cloudy vision or vision loss. During the DSAEK procedure the surgeon can target this specific layer and replace the damaged cells with a thin layer of a donor cornea. This allows the doctor to replace only the damaged layer and makes the procedure much more precise. This improves the overall results of the surgery.
The surgery will be a complex procedure and patients are recommended to come to the office an hour before their scheduled time. There will be pre-operative medications provided to the patient and they cannot eat anything after midnight the night before. The procedure itself will take about an hour and then the patient will have to lie back flat on his or her back. This is done so that air can push up the cornea and hold the new transplant tissue in place. Once the tissue has adhered to the cornea, it will start to function. Fluid will be pumped out of the cornea and the person’s vision will begin to clear. The vision should improve rapidly, with final results achieve in one to six months.
UV riboflavin CXL, or corneal collagen cross linking (CXL), is a long-term keratoconus treatment which utilizes riboflavin eye drops, containing vitamin B-2, and ultraviolet light to stimulate the growth of collagen cross links within a damaged cornea. This restoration of corneal collagen links can strengthen the corneal tissue and prevent the development of a incorrectly shaped or "cone-like" corneas, which is associated with keratoconus.
The UV riboflavin CXL treatment starts with the application of numbing eye drops. Next, the epithelium cells from the surface of the cornea are removed by the doctor and the riboflavin eye drops are applied to the exposed area. Within 15 to 30 minutes the eye drops are absorbed into the cornea, then the eye is exposed to ultraviolet light. The light stimulates the riboflavin in the drops and causes special types of oxygen molecules to be produced. These will gradually lead to the formation of chemical bonds within the corneal collagen fibers and make them stiffer and stronger. UV riboflavin CXL is usually painless and is performed on an outpatient basis.
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