Corneal Transplantation

To better understand corneal transplantation and why this procedure is performed, continue reading.

Your cornea is the front part of your eye. It is transparent and covers your iris, pupil, and anterior chamber. Both your cornea and lens work together to focus light in your eye.

Inflammations, infections, trauma, and degeneration are among some of the manifold reasons the cornea can become damaged.

The three types of corneal transplantation available are:

Penetrating Keratoplasty (PKP)

This technique is performed by your doctor and has been used for virtually one hundred years to remove the damaged cornea and replace it with a donor. The donor replacing your cornea is sutured to your eye. Recovering from this surgery will take six months or more.

Deep Anterior Lamellar Keratoplasty (DALK)

Deep Anterior Lamellar Keratoplasty

This highly technical procedure removes only the damaged portion of the cornea. The cornea is then replaced by a donor cornea that is thinner than the original. This procedure minimizes the complication rate.

Descemet Stripping with Endothelial Keratoplasty

Patients with fuchs’ endothelial dystrophy or corneal conditions that affect the endothelium may qualify for this highly technical procedure. This surgery involves the removal of the damaged inner layer of the cornea only, and replacement using a donor cornea with less thickness than the original. Many advantages are offered by this procedure, including shorter recovery time, less reliance on sutures, and a stronger architecture in the eye itself after the surgery.

This virtually painless procedure typically takes one to two hours to complete. Patients may choose to be put under anesthesia for a short period or stay awake. Once your eye is frozen, the area around it will be washed and cleaned. The damaged or diseased corneal tissue is removed and replaced by a healthy donor cornea.

Your doctor will place a plastic shield or patch over your eye after the operation, and you will be kept under observation by your medical team before being returning home with a driver.

The following symptoms are usual after corneal transplantation: 

  • Itching
  • Mild discomfort
  • Fluid discharge
  • Sensitivity to light and touch

Healing will occur over a continuous period of six to twelve months. You will visit your doctor for scheduled examinations to address your progress during this time.

Although problems after surgery are rare, they can still occur. Infection, bleeding, loss of vision, double vision, high intraocular pressure, and corneal graft rejections are possible. Rarely, the failure of the tissue to adapt to the recipient’s eye can occur. Note, these issues can be treated successfully with prompt medical attention. Maintain appointments with your specialist to ensure the stability of the eye post-procedure.

It will take your eye time to adjust before it can focus properly. Over time, your vision will improve gradually; however, you will likely require corrective glasses or contact lenses. Your doctor will determine when it is appropriate for you to resume driving.