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Eye (Lond). 2003 Nov;17(8):982-8.

Deep lamellar endothelial keratoplasty (DLEK): pursuing the ideal goals of endothelial replacement.

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Director of Corneal Services, Devers Eye Institute, Portland, OR 97210, USA.


Endothelial dysfunction is a leading cause of corneal vision loss and treatment requires surgical replacement with donor endothelium. Standard penetrating keratoplasty (PK) suffers from the inherent problems of surface corneal incisions and sutures and poor wound healing of vertical stromal wounds. This often results in high irregular astigmatism, unpredictable corneal power, and the risk of long-term visual loss from suture-induced vascularization, ulceration, rejection, and late wound rupture. This paper delineates five ideal goals of endothelial replacement, which include: (1) a smooth surface topography without significant change in astigmatism from preoperative to postoperative; (2) a highly predictable and stable corneal power; (3) a healthy donor endothelium that resolves all oedema; (4) a tectonically stable globe, safe from injury and infection; and (5) an optically pure cornea. Deep lamellar endothelial keratoplasty (DLEK) is a surgical method of endothelial replacement that is performed through a limbal scleral incision that leaves the surface of the recipient cornea untouched. The early results of this innovative surgery are discussed and compared to the results of PK in terms of fulfillment of the five ideal goals of endothelial replacement. With further refinement of interface creation, DLEK surgery may be the ideal method for endothelial replacement.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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