DMEK (Descemet’s Membrane Endothelial Keratoplasty) is the most advanced form of corneal transplantation surgery. Only the damaged water pump endothelial layer is replaced with a similar but healthy layer from a donor cornea. The replaced tissue is approximately 1/10th the thickness of a single hair, or about one to two red blood cells in width. DMEK as a replacement surgery is the closest thing to a true anatomic cure for many conditions including Fuchs’ Corneal Endothelial Dystrophy and corneal edema following complex cataract surgery. Fuchs’ Corneal Endothelial Dystrophy is the most common hereditary genetic defect requiring corneal transplantation for correction. The gene is carried by as many as 1 out of 300 people. In most cases, DMEK provides faster visual recovery, lower risks, reduced chance of rejection, and less necessity for chronic eye drop medication use than other types of corneal transplants. Not all patients qualify for DMEK. However, most still can undergo one of the other several types of corneal transplants.
Dr. Pavilack is our Corneal, Cataract, and Refractive Surgery Specialist. He completed his Fellowship-training at the prestigious Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary of Harvard Medical School. Dr. Pavilack has been performing advanced corneal transplantation surgeries as an outpatient for over 25 years.