Two of the UK’s top ophthalmologists based at Southampton General Hospital’s Eye Unit are offering the most advanced treatment for corneal disease in the country.
Consultants David Anderson and Parwez Hossain have carried out around 30 operations to treat Fuchs’ endothelial dystrophy, a common condition that causes blurred vision in later life, using a technique known as Descemet's Stripping Endothelial Keratoplasty (DSEK).
The pair developed the new procedure from their existing methods of lamellar corneal surgery.
In the past, patients undergoing surgery for the complaint would have needed a complete corneal transplant, resulting in a longer recovery period and a higher chance of rejection.
Now, thanks to the progression of DSEK, surgeons can remove the damaged area of the cornea and transplant just a thin layer – 0.15 millimetres – of donor tissue.
The benefits of the procedure, which is performed by few specialists due to its complexity, include better quality vision and a faster, more comfortable recovery period.
Widespread use of DSEK at the eye unit has been made possible due to the success of Southampton University Hospitals NHS Trust’s organ donor programme and the unit’s status as one of only ten national eye retrieval centres.
“David and I are delighted to have firmly established DSEK here in Southampton and we hope to further increase its use over time,” said Mr Hossain.
“Because we do not need to cut so much tissue, it allows patients to have faster recovery, better vision and, importantly, less graft rejection because we are only transplanting on a very small scale.”
The development of the procedure is supported by state-of-the-art optical coherence tomography (OCT) equipment employed by the eye unit, which provides high resolution images of the cornea via infrared light – meaning it requires no contact with the eye.
Mr Hossain added: “The OCT tool has given us the opportunity to make major progress in obtaining information about the cornea without making patients uncomfortable, as previously it was necessary to make contact with the eye.”
Posted on Monday 27 July 2009