Corneal Transplants

A corneal transplantation, also known as keratoplasty, is a surgical procedure to replace all or part of your damaged cornea with a donor cornea. A donated corneal tissue is taken from a recently deceased individual with no known diseases affecting the tissue. The purpose of a corneal transplantation is to reduce pain and restore vision. The surgery is performed by the professionals at our Cornea Centers in Stockton, Tracy and Lodi.

Transplant Procedures

Penetrating Keratoplasty (PKP)

Penetrating Keratoplasty is the replacement of an eye’s scarred, diseased or damaged cornea with a clear donated corneal tissue. The procedure can improve visual acuity as it is replacing the cloudy cornea with a clear donor tissue. PKP is suitable for those with corneal decomposition, corneal dystrophy (not including keratoconus), Fuchs’ Dystrophy and corneal trauma. PKP is an outpatient procedure while the patient is awake using local anesthesia or while the patient is unconscious under general anesthesia. The actual procedure takes 30 to 90 minutes. During the procedure the surgeon makes a circular incision in the eyeball, removing the entire thickness of the damaged cornea. The donor cornea is inserted in place and attached with extremely fine stitches, which are usually removed at one year. After surgery patients should expect a gradual recovery of vision. The best results may not be obtained for six to twelve months even though vision may be improved immediately following surgery.

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Descemets Stripping Automated Endothelial Keratoplasty (DSAEK)

DSAEK is a relatively new treatment for damaged corneas, primarily treating Fuchs’ Dystrophy. Patients with this disorder do not have enough endothelial cells causing a buildup of water resulting in cloudy vision or loss of vision. This procedure also requires the use of a clear donated cornea. During DSAEK the damaged cells are “stripped” from the patient’s eye and replaced with a portion of the clear donor cornea. The procedure is more precise because it only replaces the damaged area of the cornea, and does not require stitches. The surgeon uses a bubble technique for the day of the surgery to allow the portion of donor cornea to hold in place. The procedure is outpatient but expect to be at the surgery center for a few hours. The surgery itself can last up to an hour. Using the bubble technique, the surgeon will require the patient to lie still on their back to ensure the air bubble moves into the eye to hold the donor cornea in place. After the air bubble connects the cornea, it will start to pump the water out of the cornea clearing vision. Expect final vision results up to six months after surgery.

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Descemet’s Membrane Endothelial Keratoplasty (DMEK)

DMEK is a partial thickness corneal transplants which replaces the endothelium, the innermost portion of the cornea, instead of the full standard corneal transplants. This procedure is very similar to DSAEK, however the donor tissue does not include any stromal tissue and is only the replacement of the endothelium. The DMEK procedure is done through a small incision in the cornea, peeling back the distorted endothelial layer from the cornea and replacing with the healthy donor tissue. The tissue is held in place using the air bubble method. The procedure itself lasts about 30 minutes. The surgeons at Delta Eye Medical Group may require follow up care in the first 3 months after surgery.

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If you have any questions or concerns following your surgery don’t hesitate to contact our Cornea Centers in Stockton, Tracy or Lodi.

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What our Patients Say

‍A few years ago, I decided to have laser eye surgery to correct my lifelong problem with nearsightedness.  Before that I always wore glasses or contacts.  I remember having frequent problems with contacts which would lead to problems with sunglasses or diving masks and the like.  when I chose to have eye surgery, I decided to go with Dr. Narvaez.  As a surgeon myself, I knew of his reputation and we had some patients in common and I was always impressed by his work.  Therefore, the choice was clear to me even though I knew many other Doctors who could do the procedure. After the procedure, I had excellent vision.  I love my new vision and enjoy being glasses and contacts free.  Dr. Narvaez is an excellent surgeon and I highly recommend him.

John Y. Kim, M.D.

Head and Neck Surgeon

What our Patients Say

I endorse my ophthalmologist, Julio Narvaez, MD.I have known him since moving to Loma Linda University in 2010.I was referred to him by a trusted friend and Ophthalmologist and was his patient; he is caring, bright and understood the problem and how I needed to be treated. He explained my options and allowed me to feel I had chosen my treatment while gently steering me the right direction. He was flexible when I asked to have my choice of anesthesia, which was local without sedation. He was not bothered by my continuous alertness during the surgery.

He is a bright and flexible surgeon, who makes excellent personal decisions and keeps perspective in his work and life.I would happily return to him for more care when needed.I endorse him without reservation and am glad to consider him a friend and colleague. Sincerely,

Dean A Hadley, MD Loma Linda University

Associate Professor of Urology, President of the Western Section of the American Urological Society

What our Patients Say

It’s amazing to have new technology nowadays. Previously, I had worn eyeglasses for over 35 years. After having Symfony lenses implanted into both eyes, it’s a wonderful feeling to be able to read almost everything without glasses. All the worries and fears prior to the surgery were for nothing. It’s awesome; my vision is clearer and better!  I’m so grateful to have a very good, knowledgeable, and hardworking team. My experiences with you will forever be in my heart. God is so good. He will always guide me all the way.