Corneal endothelial disease is a serious, sight-threatening and debilitating condition affecting millions of people throughout the world. Composed of a single layer of cells located on the posterior surface of the cornea, the endothelium serves both barrier and pump functions, which are essential to the maintenance of corneal clarity and optimal vision.
Unlike the corneal epithelium, which has self-renewing capacity, the corneal endothelium is not capable of regenerating. Causes of endothelial disease may include Fuchs dystrophy, surgical trauma and congenital dystrophies that lead to endothelial cell loss and vision degradation. Symptoms may include blurring, glare, discomfort and in some cases, severe pain.
Although medical therapy can be used to relieve symptoms of early-stage disease, the only treatments for more severe corneal endothelial dysfunction are full- or partial-thickness corneal transplantation, referred to as penetrating (PK) or endothelial (DSAEK, DMEK) keratoplasty, respectively.