A damaged or diseased cornea can cause enormous vision problems and even blindness. For those individuals in need of a corneal transplant, Black Hills Regional Eye Institute of Rapid City offers a multitude of procedures and techniques to meet the needs of almost any patient. Our corneal specialist Dr. Stephen Khachikian has years of training and experience performing corneal transplants using a variety of approaches. During a personal consultation at the Eye Institute, he will evaluate your case and determine the proper course of treatment.

Diagram of the Cornea

Diagram of the Eye

Corneal Surgeries

During a corneal transplant, the patient’s damaged or diseased cornea is repaired or replaced with donated corneal tissue. There are a variety of corneal transplant procedures available depending on the needs of the patient.

  • IntraLase® Enabled Keratoplasty (IEK) – Combines refractive surgery and cornea surgery. Using the IntraLase® laser, the patient’s cornea is able to be removed and replaced, utilizing a”tongue and groove” pattern to ensure a proper fit. The laser itself creates good adhesion, limiting the need for stitches.
  • Deep Anterior Lamellar Keratoplasty (DALK) – A newer technique that reduces the risk of rejection of the donor cornea. The diseased outer layers of the cornea are removed, leaving the healthy innermost layer intact. Since the original inner layer is retained, the body does not recognize the donor tissue.
  • Descemet’s Stripping Endothelial Keratoplasty (DSEK) – Using a small incision, the diseased Descemet’s membrane, or basement membrane, is removed and replaced with a donor membrane.
  • General Corneal Transplant (PK) – Penetrating Keratoplasty, a surgical procedure in which a patient’s damaged or diseased cornea is replaced by a donated cornea or corneal tissue.
  • Kerato-Prosthesis (K-PRO) – A surgical procedure in which a severely damaged cornea is replaced with an artificial cornea, as opposed to donor cornea.
  • Eye Affected By Pterygium

    Eye Affected By Pterygium

    Pterygium Removal – Pterygium is a benign thickening of the outer coating of the eye that grows onto the cornea. While there is no cure, laser surgery can be used to alleviate symptoms.

  • Limbal Cell Transplant – Repairs severe ocular surface disease. Cultured limbal stem cells from an undamaged eye can be transported to a damaged eye to regenerate new corneal epithelium. Performed in addition to corneal transplant.
  • Photo-therapeutic Keratectomy (PTK) – Designed to treat corneal surface disease. Removal of the outer layer of the cornea, and subsequent smoothing of the cornea using a laser.
  • Superficial Keratectomy (SK) – Used to remove corneal haze or blurry vision. Removal of the outermost layer of the cornea and the anterior stroma.
  • Corneal Laceration Repair – Either a partial or full laceration resulting from a scratch to the cornea. Irrigation, patching, and suturing may be used to correct the laceration; in some cases, laser surgery can also be used.
  • Intacs® – Treatment for Keratoconus. Corneal implants for individuals with nearsightedness that do not wish to undergo laser surgery.

Learn More About Corneal Transplant Surgery

Cornea Transplant exampleThe cornea, along with the lens, makes up two-thirds of the eye’s total optical power. With the cornea so crucial to sight, any perceived problems should be taken quite seriously. Black Hills Regional Eye Institute has a team of dedicated medical professionals with years of training and experience diagnosing corneal disease and performing corneal transplant surgery. With a range of treatment options available, we may be able to help you with your corneal transplant. Please contact us today if you are having trouble with your vision; it may be that a corneal transplant at our Rapid City, Eye Institute could correct or even restore your vision.

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Cornea Transplant Overview