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Descemet Stripping Automated Endothelial Keratoplasty (DSAEK) Surgery

DSAEK Surgery available to our Sydney Patients

There are approximately 2000 corneal transplantation surgeries completed in Australia annually. It has become one of the most common transplantation procedures. 

Descemet stripping automated endothelial keratoplasty, also known as DSAEK Surgery is a relatively new type of transplant technique and has become increasingly popular due to its very high success rate and relatively low complication rate.

Please read for more information on DSAEK corneal transplant surgery, which is available at Vision Clinic Syndey.

Descemet stripping automated endothelial keratoplasty (DSAEK) is a type of eye surgery used to treat corneal diseases that affect the innermost layer of the cornea, known as the endothelium.

The endothelium is a single layer of cells responsible for pumping fluid out of the cornea and when it is damaged, the cornea becomes swollen.

It is a minimally invasive surgery that can help to improve vision and quality of life for patients with corneal disease. The procedure involves replacing the damaged endothelial cells with healthy cells from a donor cornea.

DSAEK is typically performed on an outpatient basis. The recovery period can vary. Most patients experience significant improvement in vision within a few weeks of surgery.

descemet stripping automated endothelial keratoplasty sydney

Indications for Descemet Stripping Automated Endothelial Keratoplasty

descemet stripping automated endothelial keratoplasty sydney

DSAEK is indicated for patients with corneal diseases that affect the endothelium, such as Fuchs’ endothelial dystrophy, pseudophakic bullous keratopathy and certain forms of corneal oedema. These conditions cause the cornea to become swollen, leading to vision loss over time.

DSAEK is typically recommended for patients who have failed other medical treatments, such as eye drops and oral medications. In some cases, DSAEK may be performed as a primary treatment for corneal disease.

How DSAEK Surgery works

Preoperative evaluation for Descemet Stripping Automated Endothelial Keratoplasty

Before DSAEK surgery, patients will undergo a comprehensive eye examination to ensure they are good candidates for the procedure. This examination will include a visual acuity test, a slit-lamp examination and an intraocular pressure test, in addition to corneal scans.

Patients should also have a complete medical history and physical examination before surgery. During the preoperative evaluation, patients should ask their surgeon any questions they may have about the procedure.

Donor cornea during surgery

During the procedure, the damaged section of the posterior cornea is removed from the eye. The donor cornea is prepared and inserted into the eye as accurately as possible to optimise donor survival.

The corneal tissue unfolds and is positioned and the wound is closed. An air bubble is then injected underneath the donor cornea to facilitate its adherence to the recipient cornea. Finally, the pupil is dilated with eye drops.

dsaek surgery sydney

Recovery from DSAEK Surgery

Patients are sent to the recovery room. Patients are expected to stay overnight in the hospital and are checked by Dr Kumar the following day. Patients are then given antibiotics and steroid eye drops and will return the following week for a follow-up appointment.

Most patients notice improvements to their vision within the first 2 weeks after surgery, with results continuing to develop during the next 4 to 6 weeks.

This is significantly faster than the traditional corneal transplant procedure, which may take 6 to 12 months before effective results are achieved. Other existing eye conditions may slow or hinder vision improvement after the DSAEK procedure.

Risks of DSAEK Surgery

dsaek corneal transplant sydney

While the DSAEK procedure is considered very safe for most patients with cornea damage, there are certain risks involved with any surgical procedure, including infection, bleeding and more.

Although rare, there is a small risk of transplant rejection, which may result in redness, sensitivity to light and blurred vision, which can usually be treated with topical steroids.

Concerned About Your Vision?
We can help.
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How Can Vision Clinic Sydney Help You with DSAEK Surgery

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Meet Dr Kumar, leading surgeon

Dr Kumar is an Ophthalmic Surgeon with specific and extensive training in many different forms of laser surgery. He graduated in Medicine from the University of Newcastle and earned a Masters of Public Health degree from the University of NSW.

He completed his Ophthalmology Fellowship training at the Sydney Eye Hospital. He later completed a Cornea and Refractive Fellowship at the University of Toronto. He has been in private practice in Sydney since 2009.

Dr Kumar has performed thousands of corneal transplants and laser eye surgery procedures over his 19-year career and is committed to preserving and improving the quality of vision. He is dedicated to maintaining the highest standard of ophthalmic medical and surgical care.

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 DSAEK Surgery for Sydney Patients

The total cost of your DSAEK Surgery in Sydney will vary depending on the severity of your condition. We advise booking an initial consultation with us to get an accurate estimate of how much the surgery will cost you.

We also 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 DSAEK surgery:

DSAEK surgery is a type of partial-thickness cornea transplant. During this procedure, the patient’s Descemet membrane and endothelium are removed, followed by the transplantation of the donor cornea.

Over a five-year period, 197 DSAEK surgery patients’ cases were followed, and donor graft survival rate and postoperative ECD were examined in 130 patients. Postoperatively, the donor graft survival rate was between 85% and 99%.

DSAEK Surgery takes approximately 1 hour to complete the entire surgical procedure.

Yes DSAEK surgery is considered to be a safe procedure, but as with any type of surgery there are potential risks and these should be carefully discussed with your doctor before making any decisions.

How to schedule exploratory consultation

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:

  • Your prescription spectacles if you wear any
  • Sunglasses or a hat as your eyes may be dilated during the consultation, making you more sensitive to light. You may not be able to read or drive for 4 hours after your appointment, so please plan for this.
  • 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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