Dr. Lee trained at the most highly sought-after cornea fellowship in the country and is an experienced cornea surgeon. The past decade has been a period of exciting progress in the field of cornea transplantation, and Dr. Lee offers all types of cornea transplants, both partial and full.


The cornea is the window in the front of the eye, and the healthy cornea is clear and about half a millimeter thick. The cornea provides about two-thirds of the focusing power of the eye, so a healthy cornea is critical to your vision. Dr. Lee has performed hundreds of transplants and will perform a thorough assessment to recommend the type that is best for you.

Full Thickness Transplant (Penetrating Keratoplasty)

The cornea became the first tissue to be transplanted successfully into a human in 1905. For about 100 years, full-thickness cornea replacement was the dominant surgery, in which the entire central part of the cornea is removed and a full thickness replacement from a donor is sewn into place. This surgery, also known as penetrating keratoplasty, is still the best option for many corneal conditions.

Cornea Transplant Los Altos

Partial Thickness Transplant (Endothelial Keratoplasty or DALK)

More recently, the trend has been to replace the diseased part of the cornea, called partial thickness or lamellar transplantation. The most common layer to be replaced is the endothelium, the innermost layer of the cornea. A healthy endothelium prevents the cornea from swelling, which leads to cloudy vision. However, your body cannot grow more endothelial cells. Certain inborn conditions can accelerate cell loss, as can a history of eye surgery.

Corneal Transplant Mountain View

Endothelial keratoplasty (abbreviated as DSAEK, DSEK, or DMEK) is the name for replacement of this innermost cell layer with a partial thickness transplant from a donor. This type of transplant is not sewn into place. Instead, Dr. Lee uses an air bubble to support the new tissue and help hold it in place until it adheres on its own.

Other times, the front layers of the cornea need to be replaced, but the endothelium is healthy. A different partial thickness transplant, called a deep anterior lamellar keratoplasty (DALK), may be an option in these cases.

Complex surgery

Thanks to his advanced training in cornea, cataract, and glaucoma surgery, Dr. Lee has extensive experience in dealing with complex surgical problems involving the front part of the eye. When he was at the University of Washington, other eye surgeons throughout the Pacific Northwest, Alaska, and Hawaii sent him their most complex cases. He now brings this background to the Bay Area.

Sutured Intraocular Lenses
Whenever possible, it is preferable to use the lens capsule, the natural envelope inside the eye, to hold the artificial lens in position. However, if there is damage to the support structures inside the eye, it is sometimes necessary to suture the artificial lens instead. Depending on the anatomy of your eye, Dr. Lee may suture the lens either to the iris, the colored part of the eye, or the sclera, the white part of the eye.
Iris Repair
Some people have a congenital condition that results in defects in the iris. Other times, these defects occur because of surgery or trauma. Occasionally, the problem is not a hole in the iris but instead is scarring that pulls the iris forward and causes problems with eye pressure or threatens the health of the cornea. Dr. Lee has done many procedures to treat iris problems from all of these etiologies.
Intraocular Lens Exchange
Fortunately, the vast majority of intraocular lenses are stable and work very well. However, when there is a problem with a lens, you want a surgeon, such as Dr. Lee, who has dealt with this complex surgery on many occasions.