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Cornea Center

Cornea Transplantation

Cornea TransplantationThe shape of the cornea is important to help focus light on the retina. A standard shaped cornea, and a healthy clear lens, allows light to focus clearly. If the cornea becomes cloudy or if the cornea becomes irregular in shape, vision can be impaired. Modern technology has made corneal transplantation a successful procedure; allowing patients to receive clear vision through a partially or fully replaced cornea transplant surgery.

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Penetrating Keratoplasty (PK)

If the whole thickness of the cornea is unhealthy a full thickness corneal transplant (Penetrating Keratoplasty PK) will be required. During the PK procedure a circle of cornea is removed and replaced with the donor tissue. The new cornea will be stitched into place for a comfortable and smooth healing process. If you are interested in discussing cornea problems with our doctors in Sioux Falls South Dakota please feel free to call Vance Thompson Vision directly. The Vance Thompson Vision doctors are internationally recognized for excellence in cornea transplant surgery right here in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.


DSEK is a partial thickness corneal transplant that requires a thin piece of donor tissue to be placed on the back surface of the cornea. The DSEK procedure will help patients who have clouded corneas as a result of endothelial dysfunction. The endothelium is the layer or pump cells on the back surface of the cornea. The endothelium pumps fluid from the cornea to keep the tissue clear, if these cells are not working properly, the cornea will become cloudy and will swell. Instead of transplanting the full cornea, only the diseased pump cells will be replaced.

Unlike the full thickness Penetrating Keratoplasty (PK), DSEK uses a much smaller incision resulting in a more stable wound that is less likely to open with trauma. DSEK can also reduce the risk of complications such as hemorrhaging that could threaten your vision.


What is Keratoconus?

Keratoconus is an eye condition where the cornea becomes thin and it bulges forward. The cornea is normally a round dome shape, but when Keratoconus occurs it develops a cone like bulge. The cornea is an important part of your eye because as the light enterers to eye, the cornea refracts, or focuses the light rays so that you are able to see clearly. When Keratoconus occurs, the shape of the cornea is altered resulting in distorted vision. Keratoconus can make certain activities such as driving, watching television or reading, extremely difficult.

The causes of Keratoconus are related to certain factors including constant rubbing of the eyes, and heredity.  People suffering from Keratoconus may start to notice symptoms as early as their late teens and early twenties. Call for information on Keratoconus doctors in Sioux Falls.

What are the symptoms of Keratoconus?

Keratoconus usually affects both eyes, but symptoms may be different in each eye. Symptoms usually include:

  • Distortion of vision
  • Slight irritations
  • Mild blurring of vision
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Glare

Keratoconus also has the ability to produce astigmatism. Keratoconus can resolve on naturally, but this eye disease may leave behind scars that could result in decreased vision.

Treatment of Keratoconus

The treatment of Keratoconus will depend on the severity of the condition. In the earliest phases, it can be treated with glasses or contact lenses. Hard contact lenses may be required to help refract light evenly. As the disease develops a corneal transplant may be required. During this transplant a healthy donor cornea will replace your existing cornea. 
Less invasive procedures include Intacs. Intacs are tiny rings placed on the cornea to improve vision. Learn more about Intacs right on our ophthalmology website.

Premium Lens Implants

The LASIK procedure is the right answer for most patients who are considering refractive surgery to improve their vision. However, in patients with higher degrees of nearsightedness or farsightedness, the cornea may be too thin to allow full refractive correction.

In these cases, surgical implants may be the best alternative. These special devices are placed in the eyes to improve their focusing ability.


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