Orange County, California
800-974-EYES (3937)

Corneal Transplantation

Descemet's Stripping Endothelial Keratoplasty (DSEK)

Dr. John Hovanesian of Harvard Eye Associates was the first surgeon in southern California to perform Descemet's Stripping Endothelial Keratoplasty (DSEK), an innovative approach to corneal transplantation. This procedure improves vision for patients with certain types of corneal diseases (Fuchs Endothelial Dystrophy, Pseudophakic Bullous Keratopathy) that cause clouding of the cornea.

dsek orange county
Download DSEK Interview - PDF PDF

Video below is about Descemet's Stripping Endothelial Keratoplasty (DSEK),
a broadcast on WNDU, an NBC affiliate in Indiana.

DSEK California Corneal Transplantation

About Corneal Transplantation:

The cornea is the front clear part of the eye. Corneal clouding (edema) most frequently occurs because of loss of the "endothelial" cells that line the inside of the cornea. In this diagram of a healthy eye, these endothelial cells are shown as a blue line on the inside of the cornea.

A cloudy, swollen cornea develops when there are too few endothelial cells. The black arrows show the area where an incision is made in a conventional corneal transplant.

Penetrating Keratoplasty (PKP)

DSEK California Corneal Transplantation

Conventional Corneal Transplant Surgery

In conventional corneal transplant surgery (called penetrating keratoplasty), the surgeon removes the window of cloudy tissue from the patient's cornea and replaces it with donated tissue from a cadaver. This new tissue is held in place with many tiny stitches. To allow healing, these stitches must remain in place for at least six months. Then they are usually removed slowly over several office visits. During this time, vision is usually very poor, and the stitches may cause discomfort. Even after all stitches are removed, vision may not return to normal because of warping or 'irregular astigmatism' that remains in the corneal graft.

Descemet's Stripping Endothelial Keratoplasty (DSEK)

No Stitch Corneal Transplant Surgery

In DSEK, the surgeon uses special instruments to enter the eye through a less than 1/4 inch incision in the front clear part of the eye (cornea). The back portion of the cornea (Descemet's membrane) is then painlessly stripped away and replaced by a similar piece of healthy graft tissue from a cadaver donor. Although only a small piece of cornea is actually replaced, the graft will help keep the entire cornea clear. DSEK has several advantages over conventional transplant surgery.

No stitches are placed in the cornea. In clinical studies, this has resulted in significantly less astigmatism after surgery and faster recovery of vision.

In general, fewer follow-up exams are necessary because there are no corneal stitches to be removed. Ongoing studies are also examining whether corneal transplant rejection is less likely with DSEK than conventional transplants.

Like conventional corneal transplantation, DSEK surgery is covered by most major insurance carriers, including Medicare. DSEK is not appropriate for all patients with corneal disease.

Please contact Harvard Eye Associates for further information.

back to top

Our Promise

As always, Harvard Eye is first and foremost concerned about what is best for each individual patient. Call us today for your personalized consultation!

Harvard Eye Associates
Laguna Hills Office

Map and Directions
24401 Calle de la Louisa
Suites 300-312
Laguna Hills, California 92653

FAX: 949-356-1660
Harvard Eye Associates
San Clemente Office

Map and Directions
665 Camino de los Mares
Suites 102-103
San Clemente, California 92673

FAX: 949-356-1660

The eye doctors of Harvard Eye Associates perform advanced technology diagnostic testing and treatment, as well as taking the time necessary to provide each patient with information needed to fully understand his or her condition and to achieve the best possible visual outcome.

If you or a family member or friend have not had a recent routine eye examination, have a specific eye condition that needs addressing, or are looking for an eye specialist, second opinion, or professional eye consultant please take a moment to Request an Appointment.

In The News

When exciting improvements in a current technique or product are introduced to the ophthalmic world, Harvard Eye Associates is often involved in the related clinical studies.

As a trusted, advanced clinical research study center, Harvard Eye Assoicates makes it possible to offer qualifying patients access to advancements in eye care not yet available to the general public.

Click below to see how you may benefit.

Clinical Research Study

Ask The Eye Doctor

If you have questions about your eyes, Harvard Eye Associates is here with the information you need.

We've dedicated sections of our website expressly to list of Frequently Asked Questions and Answers, covering cataract surgery, glaucoma, retina, LASIK, macular degeneration, dry eyes and more, plus an online form where you may submit questions directly to an eye doctor.

Please click below to have your questions about vision answered.

Learn More

Why Choose Us

Internationally regarded as the go-to specialist in eye care, Harvard Eye offers a combined experience of over 100 years and over 100,000 surgical procedures. The doctors of Harvard Eye Associates have treated virtually every known eye condition there is, plus a few previously unknown.

Learn More

Before Your Visit

Whether you or a loved one are having a first eye exam, a repeat eye exam, or are seeing a new eye doctor at Harvard Eye for the first time, there are a number of routine questions you can expect.

Your answers to these questions during eye exams are anything but routine for your eye doctor, so you may want to arrive prepared.

Learn More

Meet Our Patients

Read testimonials and watch videos of actual Harvard Eye Associates patients who have benefited from our professionalism, dedication, and commitment to high quality patient care.

Our offices provide patients with all eye care needs from routine eye exams to complex surgical procedures.

We are both proud and grateful that our patients have chosen to trust their vision with Harvard Eye!

Learn More

How We Give Back

Volunteer work is extremely important to Harvard Eye Associates. Twice yearly, we travel the world to teach and perform surgery to people who have no other resources, and have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to providing medical training and supplies to developing countries.

Learn More