Corneal disease is a serious condition that can have far-reaching implications when it’s not treated quickly and properly. Here, we’ll discuss the three main types of corneal disease, and well as the benefits of corneal transplant as a potential treatment option.
Types of Corneal Disease
Several types of corneal disease exist, but three specific types are recognized as the most common. The three main types of corneal disease are:
Fuchs’ endothelial dystrophy: Fuchs’ endothelial dystrophy is a hereditary deformity that affects the endothelium, the inner cell layer of the cornea. The endothelium transports fluids away from the cornea to maintain clarity. Dysfunction of the endothelium caused by Fuchs’ endothelial dystrophy causes swelling in the cornea, which further results in cloudy or inhibited vision.
Keratoconus: When someone suffers from keratoconus, they experience thinning and weakness of the central cornea. Eventually, a deformity in the shape of a cone develops. The speed at which keratoconus can vary drastically from person to person, and while this disease generally occurs in both eyes, it may only occur in a single eye.
Bullous keratopathy: Bullous keratopathy is the permanent swelling of the cornea. This diseased develops when the endothelium in the cornea is damaged, so fluids are built up in the tissue with no way of getting out.
Corneal Transplant for Corneal Disease
A corneal transplant, also called keratoplasty, is a surgical procedure involving the cornea. In corneal transplant, the surgeon will remove scarred cornea tissue and replace it with healthy corneal tissue from a donor.
A corneal transplant can reduce the negative side effects of corneal disease by restoring vision, minimizing eye pain, and repairing visible damage. During the procedure, your surgeon will remove a small section of the diseased corneal tissue using a trephine for precision. Then, corneal tissue from a donor is positioned where the damaged tissue used to be. Your surgeon will stitch the healthy cornea until it’s secure using ultra-fine thread, which can be removed later on.
Corneal transplant procedures can vary depending on your unique condition. While a full-thickness corneal transplant may resolve certain forms of corneal disease, other individuals will only need to have specific layers of corneal tissue replaced.
Endothelial keratoplasty, or EK, is a type of corneal transplant that removes unhealthy tissue from the back corneal layers. This includes the endothelium and the Descemet membrane, which is a protective layer of tissue for the endothelium.
Anterior lamellar keratoplasty, or ALK, is another type of corneal transplant that removes unhealthy tissues from the front corneal layers. This includes the epithelium and the stroma. With ALK, the endothelial tissue is left intact.
A corneal transplant may be an effective treatment option to consider for individuals suffering from corneal disease. Contact The Eye Clinic of Florida to learn more about corneal transplant and how it could work for you.
A Tampa Tribune reader’s poll has ranked him as Pasco’s Best Eye Surgeon for the last 3 years.
PatientsChoice.org has recognized him as one of America’s Most Compassionate Doctors for 9 years in a row (2009-2017). He again won the Patient’s Choice Award for the 9th year in row this year. Both awards are given to less than 3% of doctors and based on patient voting. Dr. Mahootchi was in the top 1% in 2017.