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.
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.
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.
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.