(PRWEB) September 17, 2012
Corneal transplantation is sometimes necessary for patients with keratoconus when the condition does not respond to other forms of treatment. Keratoconus is a condition characterized by thinning and distortion of the central cornea. Until recently, the only form of transplant procedure appropriate for these patients was penetrating keratoplasty, or PK, where a circular disc of corneal tissue is removed from the donor cornea, placed into a similarly-sized space in the recipient’s cornea, and secured with sutures. While PK still comprises the vast majority of corneal transplant procedures, there have been several recent advancements in transplant technology.
In the early 2000s, a new procedure, deep anterior lamellar keratoplasty (DALK), was introduced. DALK differs from PK in that the recipient’s innermost layer of corneal tissue, or endothelium, is left intact, with only the central and outer layers being replaced with donor tissue. DALK represents an advance over PK in that the chances of the patient’s body rejecting the corneal graft are much lower.
In the past few years, there has been yet another advance in corneal transplant technology. Dr. Michael J. Bradley, a corneal specialist and surgeon at Hoopes Vision, is one of a select handful of corneal surgeons performing the advanced, laser-assisted FLEDALK corneal transplant procedure. FLEDALK, which stands for Femtosecond Laser Enhanced Deep Anterior Lamellar Keratoplasty, is a version of the DALK procedure. FLEDALK differs from the conventional DALK surgery in that a femtosecond laser, similar to those used to create corneal flaps for LASIK patients, is used to harvest the donor cornea, as well as make the tissue cuts that prepare the patient’s eye to receive the donor tissue. The femtosecond laser offers improved accuracy and precision compared to the manual incisions used in the standard DALK procedure, leading to better tissue alignment, a stronger wound, and faster visual recovery. “These exciting recent advances in corneal transplant surgery should lead to improved patient outcomes,” Dr. Bradley says, “including quicker recovery and lower rates of graft rejection.”
Ophthalmology, and eye surgery in particular, is a field where technology is constantly advancing. At Hoopes Vision, our commitment to staying at the cutting edge is demonstrated by our early adoption of every major advance in vision correction technology. Dr. Bradley’s use of the FLEDALK procedure, with its improved safety and results for patients suffering from keratoconus, is another great example of this commitment.
About Hoopes Vision:
Hoopes Vision is one of the premiere vision correction facilities in the United States. Their state-of-the-art LASIK, refractive, and cataract eye surgery facilities in the Salt Lake City, Utah are among the most technologically advanced in the country. Their LASIK suite features four unique vision correction lasers on-site, and their state-licensed, Medicare approved Ambulatory Surgical Center is the first in the world to offer multiple laser cataract platforms.