the eye institute of west florida

Corneal Transplant

Corneal Transplant Surgery

At The Eye Institute of West Florida, our specialists are able to perform the most advanced surgical procedures to restore visual clarity and quality of life for patients with advanced corneal diseases and conditions.

Dr. Neel Desai has performed thousands of advanced vision recovery procedures.

There are many conditions in which the endothelial cells, the innermost layer of the cornea, can become damaged or stop working. This may include prior eye surgery, as well as genetic conditions such as Fuchs’ Dystrophy. When the cornea becomes swollen, cloudy, or develops droplet like changes, you may need a cornea transplant.

Our surgeons are trained in the following Endothelial Procedures: DMEK, DSAEK, and PDEK. Your specialists will choose the best procedure based on your condition and medical history.

About DMEK

Descemet’s membrane endothelial keratoplasty (DMEK) is a form of corneal transplant in which human donor corneal tissue is used to restore the clarity of the patient’s existing cornea. The DMEK technique is a micro incisional surgery, replacing only the cells you need on a membrane with no additional donor tissue. The DMEK graft is only about 15 microns thick (slightly thicker than a red blood cell) and as a result, the clarity of the cornea after surgery can be spectacular.

About DSAEK

Descemet’s stripping automated endothelial keratoplasty (DSAEK) is another form of corneal transplant in which human donor corneal tissue is used to restore the clarity of the patient’s existing cornea.

At The Eye Institute of West Florida, we can replace the damaged inner layer of endothelium with a graft of new endothelial cells that has a thin supporting layer of donor tissue on the back. This is called ultra-thin DSAEK or UT-DSAEK. The ultra-thin form of this procedure involves using a thinner graft which can provide faster vision recovery and less risk of rejection than traditional DSAEK.

About PDEK

Pre-Descemet’s membrane endothelial keratoplasty (PDEK) is another type of corneal transplant in which human donor corneal tissue is used. The PDEK technique replaces only the cells you need on a membrane with a few microns of supportive donor tissue. The PDEK graft is only about 20 microns thick (just over 2 x the thickness of a red blood cell), and as a result the clarity of the cornea after surgery is excellent.

Expertise You Can Trust

Each type of corneal transplant surgery restores the cornea. Working with our team of corneal specialists, we will determine the type of procedure that is right for you.


Meet Your Cornea Care Specialist

Tampa Ophthalmologist Neel R. Desai, MDNeel R. Desai, M.D. is a fellowship-trained, board-certified, ophthalmologist strictly specializing in LASIK, cataract, and corneal diseases of the eye. Dr. Desai is a top graduate of the Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine and completed his fellowship in cornea, cataract, and refractive surgery at the Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins University.

He is recognized throughout the country and internationally as one of only 100 surgeons able to perform advanced corneal transplants and another complex cataract, corneal and refractive procedures. He holds pending patents to new surgical products and advanced cornea surgical procedures of his own design.

Additionally, Dr. Desai has authored many book chapters in his field of study and continues to write articles in peer review journals.

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