The WVU Eye Institute provides both medical and surgical treatment of disorders that affect the cornea and other external structures of the eye.
Some of the surgical procedures we commonly perform include:
- Cornea transplant
- Cataract surgery for high-risk patients
- Refractive surgery
- Trauma reconstruction
The cornea is the clear dome-shaped structure responsible for transmitting light into the eye as well as serving an important protective function. When misshapen and/or scarred, vision can be compromised.
In addition to performing laser correction for astigmatism, near sightedness and far sightedness, our doctors can also use the laser to correct certain scarring conditions.
Both partial thickness (lamellar) and full thickness (penetrating) corneal transplantation (keratoplasty) are performed frequently at the WVU Eye Institute.
We also offer standard small incision cataract surgery, and we treat complex cataract cases, such as dislocated lenses and mature cataracts. The doctors often perform secondary intraocular lens implants.
WVU is one of just a few eye institutes in the nation to perform a new cornea transplant procedure called ALTK, or automated lamellar therapeutic keratoplasty.
Our services also include care and treatment for conditions such as dry eye, allergies, and infections of the eye.
Fuchs Corneal Endothelial Dystrophy
This condition is characterized by the failure of the inner lining of cells called the Corneal Endothelium to pump fluid from the cornea. When the cell lining function fails, the cornea swells and becomes steamy and hazy. This condition can now be treated by a procedure which replaces the deficient cell layer with a thin donor tissue layer containing properly functioning cells. This procedure called DSEK is a real advancement in the treatment of Fuchs Dystrophy.
A common condition in which the cornea becomes thin and irregular in shape. The loss of vision which results from this condition cannot be corrected with eye glasses or standard contact lens. WVU Eye Institute offers specialized contact lens fitting which can often restore vision and provide comfortable wear. In situations where contact lens are not an option, surgical procedures such as implanting INTACS plastic ring segments or cornea transplant can improve vision.
Ocular Infections and Inflammatory Diseases
Common infections of the eye such as that caused by Herpes Simplex/ Zoster as well as bacterial and fungal organisms require specialized care which is offered at WVU Eye Institute. Inflammatory conditions such as Rheumatoid Arthritis, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, and Sarcoidosis can affect the structure of the eye and result in loss of vision if untreated. The cornea service at WVU Eye Institute often works together with the Department of Rheumatology to treat these vision threatening conditions.
What should I bring to an appointment at the WVU Eye Institute?
Copies of records from any previous eye care providers are always useful. If possible bring the actual bottles of any medications you are using to avoid confusion and guess work. Providing the actual intraocular lens implant cards from previous eye surgeries is helpful.
Can a corneal transplant be rejected like a kidney or liver transplant?
Yes. Corneal transplant tissue can be rejected by the body’s immune system. This is more frequent and severe in younger recipients than those that are older. Unlike organ transplant the risk of rejection of cornea tissue can be reduced with the use of eye drops rather than powerful oral medications.
Does insurance cover a cornea transplant?
Usually insurance coverage is not an issue, as there are accepted diagnostic and procedure codes which most companies accept. The staff at WVU Eye Institute can review insurance coverage and copay amounts with you prior to scheduling your procedure.
Is surgery done as an inpatient or outpatient setting?
The vast majority of our procedures are done as an outpatient in the same day surgery operation rooms on the second floor on Ruby Memorial Hospital. Post-operative follow-up visits at the WVU Eye Institute are typically scheduled the day after surgery, then one week and one month later.