What is a Corneal Transplant?

A corneal transplant (keratoplasty) is a procedure in which some or all of a cornea in need of replacement is exchanged with donor tissue. The surgery may be done with traditional surgical technologies or with the aid of a surgical laser.

What Conditions Might Call for Corneal Transplants?

A corneal transplant may be necessary if you sustain a serious injury such as chemical burns to the corneas. Clouding or repeated scarring of the corneal tissues over time may eventually obscure vision until you need surgery. Extremely thin corneal tissue caused by keratoconus may require transplantation.

Where Do Eye Surgeons Get Their Donor Corneas?

Donor cornea are obtained from overseas tissue banks. These banks analyse and store thel tissue from individuals who have donated their corneas to medicine. The donor tissues are carefully inspected before surgery to make sure they are safe to use and appropriate for your eyes.

What are Some Common Forms of Corneal Transplant?

Endothelial keratoplasty replaces only the inner layer of your corneal tissue with donor tissue. A partial thickness corneal transplant replaces only the middle and outer layers. A penetrating keratoplasty (PK) replaces the full thickness of the corneal tissue.

What Can I Expect During/After the Procedure?

The total operating room time involved is generally two hours or less. You will have some redness, tearing, light sensitivity, and irritation for a few days. An eye shield will protect your treated eye during sleep while it recovers. Eye drops and ointments will be prescribed to protect the eye from complications.

How Successful are Corneal Transplants?

Due to the avascular nature of the cornea, most corneal transplants are highly successful and last for many years. Some people may experience tissue rejection, in which case another transplant may be necessary.

What are the risks of Corneal Transplants?

Cornea transplant is relatively safe. Still, it does carry a small risk of serious complications, such as: Eye infection, Pressure increase within the eyeball, Problems with the stitches used to secure the donor cornea, Rejection of the donor cornea, Bleeding, Retinal problems, such as retinal detachment or swelling.

What are the signs and symptoms of cornea rejection ?

Your body's immune system can mistakenly attack the donor cornea. This is called rejection, and it might require medical treatment or another cornea transplant.Make an urgent appointment with your eye doctor if you notice signs and symptoms of rejection, such as Loss of vision, Eye pain, Red eyes, Sensitivity to light. Rejection occurs in about 10% of cornea transplants.

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