Manhattan LASIK surgeon Sandra Belmont, MD, FACS, also has extensive experience in corneal surgery. Dr. Belmont completed an advanced training fellowship in surgery of the cornea and is the founder of an extremely competitive corneal fellowship program. To date, she has trained 17 corneal fellows in her program. Dr. Belmont’s patients and peers alike recognize her as a leading authority in corneal and refractive surgery. At Belmont Eye Center, she treats countless individuals suffering from a broad range of corneal diseases and is well-qualified to diagnose and treat your specific type of corneal disease.
Options for Treating Corneal Disease
Some forms of corneal disease do not require immediate intervention in their early stages. In these cases, Dr. Belmont simply monitors the condition to see if it is progressing. Other forms of corneal disease can be treated with noninvasive options, in their early stages. For example, Dr. Belmont typically prescribes contact lenses for those with early-stage keratoconus.
In contrast, other forms of corneal disease (e.g., Fuchs’ dystrophy) may call for keratoplasty, or corneal transplantation, especially in their more advanced stages. There are a few approaches to cornea transplant surgery, including penetrating keratoplasty (PK); laser-assisted PK, which is also known as IntraLase enabled keratoplasty (IEK); and Descemet’s Stripping Endothelial Keratoplasty (DSEK).
Penetrating Keratoplasty (PK)
With PK, Dr. Belmont removes the damaged or diseased cornea and replaces it with a healthy cornea from a donor. She attaches the donor cornea with extremely fine stitches that are designed to stay in the eye for up to two years, or until the cornea has sufficiently healed and the sutures can be removed.
IntraLase Enabled Keratoplasty (IEK)
IEK is an advanced approach to PK that involves the use of a laser for added precision during keratoplasty. With IEK, Dr. Belmont employs the IntraLase femtosecond laser to prepare the corneal tissue for transplantation. Using the laser during keratoplasty allows the New York City corneal surgeon to shape the recipient tissue more precisely so it matches the donor tissue better. It also allows her to generate specialized edge shapes. In many cases, IEK leads to faster healing and a quicker recovery after corneal transplant surgery, and possibly better visual results.
Descemet’s Stripping Endothelial Keratoplasty (DSEK)
In contrast to PK and IEK, DSEK involves grafting only a portion of the cornea instead of the entire cornea. With DSEK, Dr. Belmont only transplants one specific layer of the cornea, Descemet’s Membrane. Because only a portion of the cornea is transplanted in this procedure, many patients experience clear vision after the procedure as well as a quicker recovery period than they might experience with another type of treatment.
Descemet’s Membrane refers to the thin layer of the cornea that houses the cornea’s endothelial cells. Normally functioning endothelial cells pump excess aqueous fluid out of the cornea. If the endothelial cells are impaired for whatever reason, fluid accumulates in the eye, causing corneal inflammation (keratitis) and, ultimately, poor vision. Dr. Belmont may recommend DSEK as an appropriate treatment option for individuals with impaired endothelial cells that are causing severe keratitis.
How Do I Find Out More About Keratoplasty Options
Dr. Belmont realizes that hearing you may need to undergo corneal transplant surgery to treat your advanced corneal disease can be alarming. That is why she does her best to educate her patients and make sure they understand their different treatment options, including the different approaches to keratoplasty.
To find out more about your available corneal treatment options, including corneal transplantation, arrange a consultation with Dr. Belmont. She will take the time to examine your eye health and explain your options in detail, so you feel confident that you are pursuing the most appropriate treatment option for your unique vision health needs.