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What happens during an EK (endothelial keratoplasty) procedure?

The EK (Endothelial Keratoplasty) procedure is done in an outpatient setting under local anesthesia (eyedrops or numbing injections are placed around the eye). Relaxing medications are given in a vein.

The procedure takes approximately 45 minutes. A tiny incision is made in the sclera (white portion of the eye). A thin button of healthy endothelial cell layer from a donor is inserted into the eye through the incision and placed on the back surface of the cornea. An air bubble is injected to push this new tissue into place and help it heal in the proper position. The endothelial cells have a natural “pumping” action, which creates suction and rapidly bonds the new donor tissue to the cornea.

Your surgeon may want you to lie flat on your back facing the ceiling as much as possible for the first 24 hours after surgery. This will help the air bubble keep the new corneal tissue in place. You will be given eyedrops to use for comfort and to prevent infection. Vision is usually better within one week. After one month, approximately 80 percent of the healing has occurred, but vision may continue to improve over the next four to six months.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.