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More Details about Cornea Transplant

A cornea transplant or keratoplasty is a surgical procedure where a damaged or diseased cornea is replaced by donated corneal tissue from a healthy donor. A cornea is usually a transparent, dome-shaped surface of the human eye. Moreover, cornea transplant surgery restores clear vision and improves the quality of life for many people. It's where light goes into your eye and is a large part of your eye's ability to see clearly.

Risks Involve in Cornea Transplant

Cornea transplant carry a small risk of serious complications, such as:

  • Eye infection
  • Problems with the stitches used to protected the donor cornea
  • Pressure increases within the eyeball
  • Rejection of the donor cornea
  • Bleeding problem
  • Retinal problems, such as retinal detachment or swelling

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Treatment and Procedures to Cornea Transplant

A cornea transplant removes either the complete thickness or partial thickness of the damaged cornea and replaces it with tissue of healthy donor. There are various types of cornea transplant procedures include:

  • Full-thickness cornea transplant: It is also known as penetrating keratoplasty (PK). To remove a small button-sized disk of corneal tissue, your surgeon cuts through the entire thickness of the damaged or diseased cornea. A specific instrument is used to make this precise circular cut. With the help of sutures, your surgeon stitches the new cornea into place. The stitches may be removed at visit later with your eye doctor.  
  • Endothelial keratoplasty (EK): These procedures mainly remove damaged tissue from the back corneal layers, including the endothelium and a tinny layer of tissue that protects the endothelium from infection and injury. Removed tissue replaces with donor tissue. there are usually two types of Endothelial keratoplasty (EK) such as:
    • Descemet stripping endothelial keratoplasty (DSEK): It is uses donor tissue to replace about one-third of the cornea.
    • Descemet membrane endothelial keratoplasty (DMEK): It is mainly using a much thinner layer of donor tissue. In DMEK, the tissue used is very thin and fragile. DSEK process is less challenging than this and it is used very commonly.
  • Anterior lamellar keratoplasty (ALK): Two different procedures to remove damaged tissue from the front corneal layers which includes the epithelium and the stroma, but leave the back endothelial layer in place. Additionally, the depth of diseased cornea decides the type of ALK procedure that's appropriate for you. The front layers of your cornea replace by superficial anterior lamellar keratoplasty (SALK), leaving the healthy stroma and endothelium complete. When cornea damage extends deeper into the stroma, a deep anterior lamellar transplant (DALK) procedure is used. Then, healthy tissue from a donor is then grafted to replace the removed portion form your body.
  • Artificial cornea transplant (keratoprosthesis): People may receive an artificial cornea (keratoprosthesis) when they aren't eligible for a cornea transplant from a donor cornea.


Cornea Transplant Recovery

You may probably wear an eye patch for at least a day, maybe 4, until the top layer of your cornea heals after your cornea transplant. The eye yours will probably be red and sensitive to light. It might pain or feel sore for a few days, but some patients don't experience any discomfort.

Your surgeon will recommend eye drops to bring down inflammation and reduce risk of infection. To help with pain, they may suggest other medicines. Your surgeon needs to examine your eye the day after surgery, several times during the following couple of weeks, and afterward a few more times during the first year of surgery.

Procedures for transplant such as DSEK and DMEK that generally use a gas bubble inside the eye to help position the transplanted tissue, the surgeon may also enquire you to lie flat sometimes during the day and sleep flat on your back at night for a few days.

From injury, you'll have to protect your eye after your surgery. Carefully follow your surgeon instructions.

Your cornea doesn't get any blood, so it heals not quickly. Your doctor will take them out at the office a few months later in case when you required stitches.

Frequently Asked Question

In positive subjects, the rate of success of corneal transplantation may be as high as 90%, with good final visual acuity with glasses. In addition, the negative rate of success may be around 10 to 20%. Before definite results can be predicted, each patient is evaluated individually.

After surgery, your vision may be blurry for a period of time. In some cases, it may take 6 to 12 weeks to get the full aids of surgery and to see as clearly as possible. Moreover, your surgeon will give you eyedrops to help your eye heal and prevent your body from rejecting the donor tissue.

A corneal transplant is suggested for people who have problem of vision problems caused by thinning of the cornea, most often due to keratoconus. Scarring of the cornea from severe injuries or infections. By cloudiness of the cornea results vision loss caused, most often due to Fuchs dystrophy.

Your eye may be covered with an eye pad or plastic shield, which is removed next day after procedure. You may possibly find that your sight is blurred, when it's taken away. There should not be serious harm after the operation, but there might be some swelling and discomfort.

An artificial or prosthetic cornea is called as a keratoprosthesis. Both donor and artificial corneal transplantations involve removal of the damaged and opaque recipient cornea and replacement with another donor or prosthetic cornea.


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