Treatment of corneal oedema depends on the cause of the oedema, as well as how advanced the swelling is. Patients with high eye pressures or eye inflammation need treatment in order to prevent corneal swelling from being permanent.
In patients with mild corneal oedema and minimal blurring, concentrated (“hypertonic”) saline drops and ointment can help reduce the corneal swelling and minimise impact on daily activities.
However, as the corneal oedema becomes more advanced, corneal transplant surgery may be needed to replace the inner lining of corneal cells in order to restore transparency to the cornea. This form of partial corneal transplant, where only the inner lining of cells is transplanted, can be performed with DSAEK (Descemet Stripping Automated Endothelial Keratoplasty) and DMEK (Descemet Membrane Endothelial Keratoplasty).
In advanced cases of corneal oedema, where there is severe scarring of the cornea, a full-thickness corneal transplant (or Penetrating Keratoplasty) may be required.
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