Intralase enabled Keratoplasty (IEK) / Femtosecond Laser Assisted Keratoplasty (FLAK)

At the Cornea and Laser Eye Institute, we were amongst the first in the nation to perform laser-assisted corneal transplants. In these laser procedures, sometimes called Intralase Enabled Keratoplasty (IEK) or Femtosecond Laser-Assisted Keratoplasty (FLAK), both full-thickness (PK) and anterior lamellar transplants (ALK and DALK) can be assisted with the use of the Intralase femtosecond laser.

Rather than preparing the corneal transplant graft with a traditional trephine (a specialized circular blade) as in standard transplantation techniques, both the patient and recipient corneas are fashioned with the laser.

We find that the laser more accurately prepares the tissue, better matches the recipient to the donor tissue shape, and also can create specialized edge shapes. The result may be a faster and stronger healing of the transplant, quicker recovery of vision, and, ultimately, a better optical and visual quality of the transplanted cornea.

Laser-assisted corneal transplants are performed in two stages. In the first, the patient undergoes the IEK procedure onsite at the CLEI laser. This procedure is done under anesthetic drops and takes approximately 30 minutes.

The patient is then transported to the ambulatory surgery center, where an anesthesiologist will prepare you for the conclusion of the transplant procedure. The procedure usually takes approximately one hour and is performed with local anesthesia on an outpatient basis. After the surgery, you will go home with your eye covered by a patch and eye shield.

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