Corneal Surgery for Disorders

Corneal Transplant

Most often used to restore vision in patients with a damaged cornea, cornea transplants are performed more than any other transplant operation in the nation. As experts in advanced surgical methods, the microsurgeons at Virginia Eye Institute perform this outpatient procedure with tremendous precision and success.

Specializing in DSAEK

Virginia Eye Institute’s Donna D. Brown, M.D. is one the few physicians in Virginia performing an innovative new corneal transplantation technique. Though relatively new to the United States, Descemet’s stripping automated endothelial keratoplasty (DSAEK) has been practiced in Europe for a number of years. DSAEK is a surgical treatment for corneal disease used when the inner lining of the cornea is affected. Since DSAEK removes only the inner lining of the cornea and does not require corneal sutures, the procedure is safer, allows for faster healing, quicker vision recovery, and less chance of astigmatism.

What Is Keratoconus?

Your cornea is the clear, dome-shaped layer that forms the front of your eye. Its function is to focus light into your eye. Keratoconus occurs when the cornea thins and bulges outward, like a cone. The change of shape in the cornea brings light rays out of focus. As a result, your vision is blurry and distorted; making simple daily tasks, like reading or driving, difficult. Doctors are unsure of the cause of Keratoconus, but believe it may be genetic.

Here are other ways that your ophthalmologist might treat Keratoconus:
  • Custom fit contact lens. Several types of contact lenses can correct vision problems caused by Keratoconus which include gas permeable contact lenses.
  • Collagen cross-linking. Your ophthalmologist uses a special UV light and eye drops to strengthen the cornea. Doing this helps to flatten or stiffen your cornea, keeping it from bulging further.
  • Corneal transplant. When symptoms are severe, your ophthalmologist may suggest a corneal transplant. Your ophthalmologist replaces all or part of your diseased cornea with healthy donor cornea tissue.

What is Corneal Cross-Linking?

In April 2016, Avedro received U.S. FDA approval for its corneal cross-linking technology, including the KXL® System, Photrexa® Viscous (riboflavin 5’-phosphate in 20% dextran ophthalmic solution) 0.146%, and Photrexa (riboflavin 5’-phosphate ophthalmic solution) 0.146%.

In the most basic sense, corneal cross-linking is a treatment where riboflavin drops are applied to and absorbed by the cornea. Ultraviolet light treatment is then applied to the eye, causing a reaction within the corneal stroma to create bonds called cross-links. Those bonds stiffen and strengthen the cornea so it stops thinning, weakening and distorting.