DSEK Minneapolis

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The health of the inner corneal layers is essential to your vision and eye health because the cornea helps focus light into your eye so you can see clearly. If your cornea becomes swollen or cloudy from corneal endothelial disease, you may need a corneal transplant to improve the vitality of your cornea. Thanks to newer advancements in technology, a full-thickness corneal transplant may not be needed for patients with diseased or damaged corneas. A partial-thickness corneal transplant, known as Descemet’s stripping endothelial keratoplasty (DSEK), removes only the inner corneal layer (endothelium). That section is replaced with a thin sample of donor tissue to provide better vision. This is unlike a full-thickness transplant, which involves removing and replacing the entire cornea. Board-certified ophthalmologist Dr. Ralph Chu utilizes cutting-edge technology to perform DSEK surgeries for patients with various types of severe corneal disease or injury. To learn more, contact Chu Vision Institute in Bloomington, MN to schedule a consultation.


The most common candidates for DSEK are individuals with Fuchs’ dystrophy, an inherited condition that causes blurry or cloudy vision. Other symptoms include pain around the eye, as well as glare or halos around lights. DSEK is also a recommended treatment for some patients with other eye diseases or injuries. Regardless of your specific corneal issue, Dr. Chu and the caring team at Chu Vision Institute will provide a full eye evaluation and any needed testing to determine your personalized course of treatment to improve your eye health.


DSEK is an outpatient procedure lasting about 45 – 60 minutes, performed at Chu Vision Institute. First, numbing drops will be used to anesthetize your eyes to help keep you comfortable, and light sedation may be administered. Then, Dr. Chu will make a small incision at the edge of the cornea to allow him to retrieve and remove the damaged or injured section. Next, he will utilize a special instrument to insert a very thin sample of healthy donor tissue into the same tiny opening. A gas or air bubble will be used to secure the tissue into place. The incision should heal up on its own so stitches are typically not needed. Afterward, a bandage contact lens may be placed over your eye.


For patients who qualify, DSEK can be an ideal option to treat corneal disease because it has a lower rejection risk and shorter recovery time than a traditional full-thickness transplant. After your procedure, our team will give you detailed post-operation guidelines for at-home care, such as keeping your head facing up for the next couple of days. It is critical to follow these instructions and attend any follow-up appointments at Chu Vision Institute to ensure proper healing and check for potential complications. With DSEK, you should begin to notice improved vision after the first two months, and you can expect to achieve 20/40 vision within about 5 – 6 months.


DSEK can effectively treat corneal swelling and blurred vision in patients with corneal damage or disease. With this innovative method for a partial-thickness corneal transplant, damaged cells are removed and replaced with a healthy donor graft. Find out if you are a candidate for DSEK by reaching out to Chu Vision Institute in Bloomington, MN to schedule an appointment with Dr. Chu.

Dr. Ralph Chu LASIK surgeon Minneapolis Ophthalmologists

Board-certified ophthalmologist Dr. Ralph Chu is a fellowship-trained corneal specialist and a nationally recognized leader in refractive and cataract procedures. His specialty areas include cataract, LASIK, cornea, and minimally invasive glaucoma surgeries for patients in the Minneapolis, St. Paul, and Twin Cities areas.

Posted on October 27, 2022

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