Dry Eye Disease
Typically, the cornea does not have blood vessels to nourish the eye; instead, this layer depends on both tears and aqueous humor (fluid that circulates within the anterior portion of the eye). Dry eye is a condition in which the eyes lack either the quantity or quality of tears needed to nourish the eye adequately. Patients with dry eye typically experience symptoms of irritation, scratchiness, stinging, and discomfort. Blurred vision and intermittent excessive tearing may also be present. Redness or “tired” eyes can be signs of dryness.
Dry Eye Syndrome
Dry Eye Sydrome (DES) can be chronic and progressive, and may affect the health of the cornea, physical comfort, and quality of vision. Treatment for dry eyes ranges from simple use of artificial tears to minor procedures and/or prescribed medications. At Omaha Eye and Laser Institute, we utilize advanced screenings and specialized testing to diagnose, treat, and monitor DES. Click here to schedule an appointment!
Corneal Dystrophies and Degenerations
While many corneal changes can arise with the normal aging process, some are genetic. Diagnosis and counseling are helpful in determining prognosis for vision across the course of your lifetime, and treatment options vary for conditions such as Keratoconus, Fuch’s Dystrophy, Salzmann’s Nodular Degeneration, or Epithelial Basement Membrane Dystrophy. Below are some surgical treatment options offered at OELI.
Corneal transplants replace the diseased portion of a poorly functioning cornea and implant a matched donor tissue in place. Corneal transplants are used to treat a wide variety of conditions, including Keratoconus and Fuch’s Endothelial Dystrophy. Surgery is generally elected when the vision of the eye is compromised to the point of decreased daily function and ability, or if there is recurring pain to the diseased eye. Recovery and healing after a transplant can be extensive, sometimes lasting more than a year. Most patients will use steroid eyedrops for several months after the procedure, and can expect to have stitches removed between 6-18 months post-surgery.
Descemet’s Stripping Endothelial Keratoplasty (DSEK)
DSEK is a partial corneal transplant where limited layers of the cornea are removed and replaced with healthy donor tissue. Surgical incisions are smaller, and generally sutures are not needed. This reduces the healing time and improves visual prognosis post-operatively. DSEKs can be used as treatment for conditions such as Fuch’s Endothelial Dystrophy.
A superficial keratectomy is a commonly used procedure that removes and smoothes out the corneal surface, reducing the detrimental effects of scarring or waste deposits from diseases like basement membrane dystrophies or nodular degeneration. This outpatient surgical treatment begins with the topical numbing of the eye, followed by a scraping of the top epithelial layer of the cornea to expose the affected sites. The scarred areas and deposits are then smoothed either manually or mechanically, and a bandage contact lens is put in place afterward to protect the eye during recovery. The healing process typically takes anywhere from 4-8 weeks with consistent use of eyedrops and follow-up care.