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DMEK Corneal Transplant

Short for Descemet membrane endothelial keratoplasty, DMEK is a partial thickness cornea transplant where the innermost layers of the cornea (Descemet membrane, endothelium) are replaced with donor Descemet membrane and endothelium. This provides an exact anatomic replacement.

The surgery takes roughly 45 minutes and is typically done without the need for general anesthesia. A gas bubble is placed in the eye at the end of the case to help the transplant stay in place, and the patient is then allowed to go home. It is important that patients lie flat for 24 hours to maximize contact of the air bubble with the graft. For the next 48 hours, patients will lay flat 50% of the time (alternating 2 hours up, 2 hours down). Steroid and antibiotic drops will be used as the eye heals. Vision will be blurry initially but typically starts clearing up around day 3-4 (when the gas bubble clears the pupil) and it will improve over the next several weeks.