Progress continues to be made in the treatment of the most common causes of blindness and vision loss due to some exciting advances in technology. Some of the most important of these have occurred in those with age-related macular degeneration, diabetic eye disease, cataracts, dry eyes, and glaucoma. In addition, corneal blindness can now most often be reversed by successful partial thickness corneal repair. This is of particular benefit as the cornea with its normally clear outer surface and the adherent tear film are involved in most of the focusing of the eye. The ability to replace only the damaged layers of the corneal through the use of Selective Corneal Transplantation has sped the recovery and improved the safety of the procedures. The most frequent of these surgeries are those replacing just the inner “water pump” or endothelial layer and involve using air bubbles to gently realign these delicate cells to restore clarity to swollen corneas. Others with irregular astigmatism or scarred corneas have benefited by the ability to selectively replace the damaged outer layers of the cornea while at the same time leaving the inner layers. This helps to reduce the possibility of developing allergic reactions or rejections of the reconstructed cornea. Fortunately, these procedures are now routinely done as an out-patient at local ambulatory surgery centers by those specializing in corneal eye disease.
Mark A. Pavilack, MD