What is the best treatment for corneal swelling after cataract surgery?

The best treatment for corneal swelling after cataract surgery is often DMEK. Corneal swelling after cataract surgery can happen even with an excellent surgeon and uneventful cataract surgery. Removing a cataract causes stress on the innermost cells of the cornea (the endothelium) no matter how careful and fast the surgery was performed. Some patients are born with endothelial cells that are weaker than normal. Despite several techniques that are used during cataract surgery to prevent damage, sometimes the endothelial cells of the cornea are not able to recover and corneal swelling results.

The normal cornea is approximately half of one millimeter in thickness. A microscopic increase in this thickness from corneal swelling (edema) can cause mild to severe blurred vision. If this occurs after your cataract surgery, you will need a Houston corneal specialist like Dr. Vital. Time (in weeks or months) and medications (steroid drops and salt drops) are often all that is necessary to treat corneal swelling. However, in some cases, surgery becomes necessary.

Corneal transplants of various types are used to move healthy cells from a donor cornea to a recipient cornea. Swelling that has been present for too long can lead to corneal scarring and the need for full thickness corneal transplantation (PKP). When the swelling does not involve scarring, a partial thickness corneal transplant can be performed. One of the most successful techniques for this is DMEK (Descemet’s Membrane Endothelial Keratoplasty). Instead of transplanting the entire cornea, only a microscopically thin layer of the corneal endothelial cells are transplanted. This provides several advantages:

better vision

shorter surgery time

less pain

faster recovery

stronger cornea

longer lasting cornea

less risk for rejection

less need for rigid contacts

If you have had cataract surgery but still have blurred vision, come in to visit Dr. Vital in Houston or Sugar Land for an evaluation.

This is Dr. Vital’s partner in providing corneal tissue.