Vision loss is unwelcome under any circumstance, but for George Locke, MD, retired professor of neurosurgery, good eyesight was crucial not just to his own well-being, but to that of the many patients he’d cared for throughout his career.

Three years ago, Locke began to suffer from clouded vision in his right eye brought on by a combination of glaucoma and cataracts. A series of procedures to restore his vision had culminated in a corneal transplant with a troubling outcome: tissue rejection with a lot of scarring.

Bibiana J. Reiser, MD, MS, assistant professor of clinical opthamology at the Keck School of Medicine of USC Locke knew another surgery would be complex and delicate, so he drew on his own considerable medical knowledge and researched options for the most appropriate treatment with the best clinician. His inquiries led him to the USC Gayle and Edward Roski Eye Institute and Bibiana J. Reiser, MD, MS, assistant professor of clinical ophthalmology at the Keck School of Medicine of USC, and an expert in corneal disease and tissue surgery.

Rather than repeat the full corneal transplant, Reiser performed a procedure known as Descemet’s stripping automated endothelial keratoplasty (DSAEK), in which only the diseased portion of the corneal tissue is removed and then replaced with a graft from donor tissue. And because DSAEK does not require sutures, it promotes more rapid vision recovery, decreases the chance of surgically induced loss of visual acuity and reduces the risk of surgical complications.“Today there is quite an array of transplant techniques available to patients who have corneal disease,” Reiser says. “They range from a full-thickness transplant to trans-plants that only replace the front part of the eye – or the back part of the eye like the transplant that Dr. Locke had. At Roski, we have a very deep bench of individual specialists, so patients can see a specialist who’s one of the best at a particular surgery, rather than someone who may do a wider range of surgeries but may not be the best.”

Happily, Locke’s operation was a success and his eyesight has been completely restored. “My experience at Keck Medicine in care and surgery has been absolutely phenomenal,” Locke says. “This is as good as it gets. I love the people here, their professionalism and compassion. I would recommend USC Roski Eye Institute and particularly my doctors to anyone, especially if they’re facing a complicated eye surgery.”

By: Martin Booe

Learn more at: eye.keckmedicine.org