Physician at Ingalls Surgery Center becomes first in Illinois to perform revolutionary new corneal transplant surgery


(February 2002) A new corneal transplant procedure being performed at Ingalls Memorial Hospital has several advantages over traditional corneal transplant surgery including quicker recovery, dramatically faster restoration of vision and the possibility of a decreased risk of rejection from the donor cornea. “The visual rehabilitation following deep lamellar endothelial keratoplasty is amazing,” Thomas John, M.D., ophthalmologist and corneal specialist said. “Patients are able to see clearly within a month or two, compared to a year or longer with traditional corneal transplant surgery.” “In traditional corneal transplant surgery, the donor cornea is attached with sutures to hold it in place,” John explained. However, in some cases, the sutures may break or become loose, leading to eye pain or the sensation of a foreign body in the eye. In deep lamellar endothelial keratoplasty, only a small portion – or disc – of the patient’s damaged cornea is replaced with a disc from the donor cornea. The transplanted disc is, in effect, laid inside the patient’s cornea, leaving the outer portion of the cornea untouched and therefore requiring no sutures. Hence, this is a no-stitch corneal transplant surgery, meaning there are no sutures used on the cornea. This is a major milestone in corneal transplant surgery. “This procedure has many advantages over a normal corneal transplant in that the rate of rejection may be less, and if the corneal disc is rejected, it can be easily replaced with another lamellar transplant, again with no corneal sutures,” he added. For more information on deep lamellar endothelial keratoplasty, call Dr. John at 708-429-0222.