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Descemet's Membrane Endothelial
Keratoplasty (DMEK) Surgery

What is DMEK Surgery?

Descemet’s membrane endothelial keratoplasty (DMEK) is a corneal transplant surgery performed to treat patients with corneal endothelial dystrophies. DMEK surgery aims to replace the diseased innermost layer of the corneal tissue (Descemet’s membrane) with a healthy donor membrane.

This is much less invasive than a traditional keratoplasty, which requires the replacement of the entire cornea and may alter its shape and the patient’s eyesight.

If you are suffering from any corneal-related eye disease, please contact Vision Clinic Sydney for more information on the DMEK surgery option we have available to our patients.

Also known as partial-thickness transplantation, DMEK surgery is a micro surgery technique typically performed on an outpatient basis and usually takes about 1 hour to complete.

During the procedure, the surgeon will make a small incision in the patient’s cornea and then remove the diseased membrane.

Once the diseased membrane has been removed, the surgeon will insert the healthy donor membrane via a thin tube into the patient’s cornea. The donor membrane will then be secured in place.

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Risks are rare, and the vast majority of patients who
undergo DMEK surgery experience no complications

Benefits of having DMEK Surgery

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There are many benefits associated with DMEK surgery. This procedure can improve vision and has a very high success rate. In addition, DMEK surgery has a decreased risk of tissue rejection compared to other types of corneal transplant surgery and normally has a shorter visual recovery period.

Benefits include:

  • Quicker visual recovery
  • Fewer activity restrictions
  • Possibility for better vision as compared to full-thickness corneal transplant surgery

Improve vision that Fuchs’ dystrophy has compromised

The posterior corneal layers are taken from a donor for this grafting procedure. Once the patient’s damaged tissue is removed from the cornea, the donor replacement tissue is carefully placed at the rear of the cornea.

Since only the inner layers of the cornea are replaced in a DMEK procedure, the recovery is typically much faster than older methods, with most patients achieving improved visual acuity within a week after the surgery.

dmek corneal transplant Vision Clinic Sydney

DMEK surgery is less invasive than other corneal transplant
surgeries and has shorter recovery times

Risks of DMEK

As with any type of surgery, there are some risks associated with DMEK surgery. These risks include:

  • Infection
  • Swelling
  • Bleeding
  • Rejection of the donor tissue

Recovery from DMEK

After the surgery, the patient will be given a protective shield/eye patch to wear over their eye. It is important for patients to avoid rubbing or touching their eyes during the healing process.

Most patients will experience discomfort and blurred vision after the surgery, but these symptoms should improve within a few days. Antibiotics and steroid eye drops will be prescribed to assist in recovery.

Concerned About Your Vision?
We can help.

Am I a good candidate for DMEK Surgery?

DMEK Surgery available at our Sydney clinic is best suited to patients with conditions related to the endothelial cells, which include:

  • Fuchs’ endothelial dystrophy
  • Iridocorneal endothelial syndrome
  • Bullous keratopathy
  • Corneal oedema due to complications from other types of eye surgery
eye surgeon sydney

How Can Vision Clinic Sydney Help You with DMEK Surgery

eye surgeon sydney

Meet Dr Kumar

Dr Nikhil Kumar graduated in Medicine from the University of Newcastle in 1998 and completed ophthalmology speciality training at the Sydney Eye Hospital in 2008. He has extensive experience in cataract surgery, refractive surgery, corneal transplantation and laser vision correction. He chose Ophthalmology because he was fascinated with eye and vision complexities.

Our location in Sydney

We are located in the central business district of Sydney in New South Wales. Our physical address is Level 6, Suite 605, 229 Macquarie St., Sydney NSW 2000, Australia.

Costs of DMEK Surgery in Sydney

We advise that you book a consultation with us at Vision Clinic Sydney, where we will conduct an initial consultation. After that, we will provide you with an accurate estimate of how much the surgery will cost and if medical insurance will cover the procedure.

We do provide flexible payment plans for any surgical procedures at Vision Clinic Sydney:

  • Simple online application
  • Approval in 60 minutes
  • Payment plans up to $30,000
  • Transparent fees
  • Hassle-free payments to your surgeon

Visit the Medipay website at to apply now.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below you can find our most frequently asked questions about DMEK surgery:

DMEK is a partial thickness corneal transplantation surgery, where the Descemet membrane and endothelium are removed and replaced with a donor cornea.

Yes, DMEK is one of the safest corneal transplant surgeries, however, there are always potential risks involved as with any type of surgical procedure and only around 5% of patients experience complications. Be sure to carefully discuss this with your doctor.

Yes, DMEK Surgery involves the use of a donor cornea. Corneal transplants, also called corneal grafts, are used to restore corneal clarity in cases where the endothelium has failed.

Studies have shown that DMEK surgery provides good visual results, where the average is 20/20 and recovery time is relatively fast, usually 2 to 4 weeks. However, this surgery is not necessarily better or worse than that of a traditional corneal procedure, such as Keratoconus. Your doctor will recommend which surgery will be most beneficial for your condition. 

This information is not intended to be used for diagnosis or treatment. It is aimed at presenting a perspective only and is not a substitute for a prescription. Anyone experiencing a medical condition should consult their doctor.

How to book an appointment

For your first appointment, you will need a referral letter from your General Practitioner or Optometrist. You can still be seen at the practice without a referral but will not be able to claim a Medicare rebate for the consultation or any tests/procedures you may have performed at the clinic.

You can download the referral PDF form or submit it online.

Please bring:


  • Any prescription glasses that you wear
  • Sunglasses or a hat as your eyes may be dilated during the consultation, resulting in possible sensitivity to light and blurred vision. You may not be able to read or drive for 4 hours after your appointment.
  • A list of current medications and details of your medical history
  • Your Medicare card, private health fund card and pension card if you have them.

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