Heather M. Skeens, MD is a cornea, cataract, and refractive fellowship trained ophthalmologist with 11 years experience in her field. Dr. Skeens performs all types of cornea transplantation techniques including, full thickness cornea transplantation(PK), and partial thickness cornea transplantation(DSEK, DMEK and DALK). Additionally, she has extensive training and experience in the placement of the Boston Type 1 Keratoprosthesis, or artificial cornea transplant. She was the first in the state of South Carolina to offer the Boston Type 1 artificial cornea transplant.
Dr. Skeens performs state-of-the art, painless and sutureless small incision cataract surgery and laser cataract surgery. She offers presbyopia and astigmatism correcting intraocular lenses. She is trained extensively in the treatment of complex cataract surgery as well for patients that have undergone trauma to the eye, or have advanced cataracts requiring techniques not typically performed, and devices not regularly required in routine cataract surgery.
Dr. Skeens performs bladeless LASIK as well as PRK for the correction of refractive errors should a patient desire to decrease his/her dependence on glasses or contact lenses. In addition, techniques are available with the laser to assist patients who have already had cataract surgery and desire a decreased dependence on glasses, as well as patients with previous cornea transplantation who desire a decrease in the spectacle or contact lens power needed.
Other areas of surgical expertise for Dr. Skeens include anterior segment reconstruction in eyes that have undergone chemical or thermal burns, corneal collagen cross-linking for disorders such as keratoconus, induced ectasia, and pellucid marginal degeneration, pterygium removal, and stem cell transplantation for limbal stem cell deficiency induced by genetic abnormality, autoimmune disease, or injury. Amniotic membrane therapy for stem cell deficiency, as well as dry eye is available. Medically, Dr. Skeens specializes in the treatment of advanced ocular surface disease, dry eye disease, contact lens related cornea issues, and cornea ulcers.
A native of Charleston, West Virginia, Dr. Skeens graduated from George Washington High School, and received a bachelor’s degree summa cum laude in biology from the University of Kentucky in 1998. She received a medical degree with Alpha Omega Alpha honors(class rank 4 of 40), and an internship in Internal Medicine from Marshall University School of Medicine in Huntington, W.V. She completed a 3-year residency at the West Virginia University Department of Ophthalmology followed by a year long cornea and cataract fellowship from the prestigious Cincinnati Eye Institute, under the direction of Dr. Edward J. Holland, MD. Dr. Skeens served on the faculty of the Storm Eye Institute at the Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC as an assistant professor of ophthalmology from early 2008 through late 2011.
Dr. Skeens is a member with thesis of The Cornea Society, as well as a member of the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons (ASCRS), and International Society of Refractive Surgery. She has authored numerous book chapters in prominent cornea texts including chapters on congenital stem cell deficiency, cornea transplantation, pterygium removal, and the management of post cornea transplant astigmatism. Journal publications include topics on cornea transplantation techniques to reduce astigmatism and improve post transplant visual acuity.
Dr. Skeens’ numerous research interests involve the diagnosis and treatment of ocular surface disease, and she has been an invited lecturer at the annual AAO, ASCRS, and Kiawah Eye meetings. She has reported on the safety profile of systemic immunosuppression in patients undergoing ocular surface transplantation for limbal stem cell deficiency, which causes a loss in corneal transparency. She also has given lectures on refractive surgical correction to decrease astigmatism following cornea transplantation, and has described a variant of congenital aniridia in which an iris is present.
Dr. Skeens outside interests include spending time with her two boys, ages 4 and 6, as well as yoga, golf, hiking, and tae kwan do. She is certified by the Korean Tae Kwan Do Association as a first degree black belt.
Dr. Skeens is board certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology.