transplant is a surgery to replace the clear front part of the eye due to disease or scarring.
A cornea transplant can restore vision, reduce pain
and improve the appearance of a damaged or diseased cornea. A cornea transplant, also called
keratoplasty, is typically performed as an outpatient procedure, which means you do not require an
overnight stay at the hospital.
of a corneal transplant is the improve vision by replacing the diseased or scarred cornea with
healthy tissue. The graft that is used for
transplantation is a human donor cornea that has been donated from a local eye bank.
transplant procedures are successful. But cornea
transplant carries a small risk of complications, such as rejection of the donor
cornea. Even so, many rejection episodes can me
managed with eye drops such that good vision is maintained.
A number of condition can be treated with a
corneal transplant, such as:
- Scarring of the cornea due to trauma
or eye infections
- Irregular shape of the
- Complications from
- Corneal swelling
- Corneal clouding
The day of
transplantation is generally performed as outpatient, which means you go home the same day of
surgery and do not require an overnight stay in the hospital.
anesthesiologist provides sedation by administering medication through your vein
(intravenously). A numbing injection is then given to
the eye being operated on so you cannot move your eye or feel anything during the
surgery. You do not feel this
speculum is placed to keep your eyelids open and your cornea is removed using a special
blade. The donor cornea is then inspected and cut to
fit your eye, then sutured in with stitches that are thinner than a strand of
hair. These sutures may be removed at a later
date by the surgeon.
After your corneal
corneal transplantation can take 6 months to 1 year, or sometimes even longer. There will be several eye drops that you will need to use, and at
first you may be using eye drops every hour while awake.
expect your vision to be very blurry at first. In the
initial stages following surgery, it is normal for your vision to be more blurry than it was prior
receive a few eyedrops and possibly oral medications as well, immediately after cornea transplant
and continuing during your recovery. This will help to
prevent rejection of the donor graft, infection, swelling and pain.
You will go
home from the surgery wearing a protective metal eye shield and a gauze patch. You will need to wear your eye shield continuously for the first
day or two and then only at night for the two weeks.
important to protect your eye from injury. Plan to
take it easy after your cornea transplant, and slowly work your way up to your normal activities,
including exercise. For the rest of your life, you'll need to take extra precautions to avoid
hurting your eye. For instance, you will need to wear safety glasses or eye protectors in
situations that carry even a small risk of eye injury, such as sports.
return for frequent follow-up exams. Frequent eye
exams are necessary to check for complications in the first year after your surgery.
Usually, eye exams are every week at first, then
gradually decrease to every few months.
Sight after a cornea
transplant depends on the reason for your surgery and your health conditions. Most people who receive a cornea transplant will have their
vision at least partially restored.
Your risk of
complications and cornea rejection continues for years after your cornea transplant. For this
reason, expect to see your eye doctor annually. The
risk of rejection is about 20% (out of every 5 patients that undergo a corneal transplant, 1 may
experience a rejection episode). Luckily, rejection
can often be managed with medications.
Once the outer layer of
your cornea has healed — usually at least 6 months after surgery — your eye doctor will work to
make adjustments that can improve your vision, such as removing stitches that are causing an
irregular shape of the cornea (astigmatism) and/or giving glasses or contact
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