Partial Thickness Corneal Transplant:
Anterior Lamellar Keratoplasty (ALK, DALK)
In anterior lamellar keratoplasty, only the front part of the cornea is replaced. This leaves the cells (called the endothelium) covering the back of the cornea intact.
By retaining the endothelial cell layer, the risk of corneal transplant rejection may be decreased, and healing may be faster. Anterior lamellar keratoplasty is suggested in conditions such as keratoconus without deep scarring or excessive thinning, and partial thickness corneal scars.
New techniques of partial thickness corneal transplantation which have been recently developed make it the preferred procedure in many cases.
In particular, in Deep Anterior Lamellar Keratoplasty (DALK), all levels of the cornea are replaced except for the endothelial cell layer and the membrane that holds the cells (called Descemet’s membrane).
This may improve visual quality after the transplant procedure while retaining the advantages of the partial thickness approach.