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.
The cells of the corneal endothelium are incapable of regenerating. Once these cells die – due to diseases such as Fuchs dystrophy, surgical trauma, and/or congenital dystrophies that lead to endothelial cell loss and vision degradation – they are gone forever. Symptoms of corneal endothelial disease may include blurring, glare, discomfort, and in some cases, severe pain.
Although topical therapy can 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.