Most people aren’t aware of the fact that there are many different subspecialties within the field of ophthalmology. As a cornea specialist at North Shore Eye Care, a division of SightMD, I would like to explain what the cornea is and how I may be able to help you.
The cornea is a clear, thin piece of tissue at the front of the eye. If you were to touch the very front surface of your eye, you would be touching your cornea. It is the part of the eye that a contact lens would sit on. In order to see well, your cornea must be thin and clear, like a piece of glass. Additionally, it must be shaped like a dome to see your best. Should it become swollen, hazy, or misshapen, your vision would decline dramatically.
The cornea is also the piece of tissue that we operate on when performing laser vision correction. Its shape is so important in your ability to see, that by altering its shape slightly with the help of a laser, we can correct your vision to a point where you wouldn’t need glasses to see your best.
It’s also the only part of the eye where we can perform a transplant. If your cornea becomes permanently damaged, we are able to perform a cornea transplant, thereby giving you a second chance at sight. There are 2 types of corneal transplants performed by North Shore Eye Care. One is a full thickness corneal transplant, also known as a penetrating keratoplasty. Here, we take a donor cornea from someone who has unfortunately died, but has donated his or her eyes, and transplant that tissue to your eye. The second type of corneal transplant is called Descemet’s Stripping Automated Endothelial Keratoplasty or DSAEK. DSAEK is the newer, less invasive way of performing a corneal transplant. It involves a much smaller incision. Recovery time is significantly reduced and your visual potential is reached much more quickly. With a DSAEK, instead of replacing the entire cornea, we replace only the damaged cells of your cornea. We remove the endothelial cells from a donor cornea and insert them into your eye. Once the new cells are transplanted into your eye, the goal is for them to attach to your native cornea and start working as your own cells. If successful, these new healthy cells are able to clear up your own, natural cornea. DSAEK has revolutionized the way we think about corneal transplants.
Whether you have a known corneal disease, or are simply looking for a full eye exam, let the doctors of North Shore Eye Care, a division of SightMD, help you. With multiple convenient locations in across Long Island, Queens, and Manhattan, there is sure to be an office near you. Call for your appointment today.