Purpose: To evaluate the speed of visual recovery in 16 consecutive patients with corneal endothelial dysfunction who received Descemet-stripping automated endothelial keratoplasty (DSAEK).
Methods: This is a retrospective study of a novel method for small-incision endothelial transplantation (DSAEK). Endothelial replacement was accomplished with Descemet stripping of the recipient and insertion of a posterior donor tissue that had been prepared with a microkeratome. Best spectacle-corrected visual acuity (BSCVA) by manifest refraction, endothelial counts, and dislocation rates were measured up to 12 months after DSAEK.
Results: Sixteen consecutive patients underwent uncomplicated DSAEK. Three patients had known optic nerve or macular disease precluding vision better than 20/200. Of the remaining 14 patients, 11 had BSCVA of 20/40 by postoperative week 12 (7 by week 6). The remaining 2 were 20/50 by weeks 6 and 12. All 14 patients were 20/40 or better at 1 year. One patient had a primary graft failure, and surgery was repeated with 20/40 BSCVA at 1 year. The dislocation rate was 25%. The average cell count between 7 and 10 months was 1714. The average pachymetry was 682.
Conclusion: DSAEK surgery allows rapid, excellent BSCVA visual recovery. The rate of visual recovery is more rapid than usually found with penetrating keratoplasty.