Cornea transplant or corneal transplantation, also called keratoplasty, is a procedure to replace the damaged or diseased cornea with a healthy, donated human cornea or an artificial cornea. If an artificial or prosthetic cornea is used the procedure is known as a keratoprosthesis or artificial cornea transplant. The procedure restores vision, reduces eye pain, and improves the appearance of the cornea if it is white and scarred due to damage.
There are two types of corneal transplant surgery, one is replacing the entire cornea with the healthy donor cornea also called full corneal transplant or penetrating keratoplasty. Second is a partial corneal transplant also called Lamellar keratoplasty where only part of cornea is replaced.
Please note that corneal transplant is only performed when other types of treatments are not effective. The doctor will let you know if the procedure is the only option you have to treat this problem.
Before the procedure, the patient meets the surgeon. Lab tests, physical examination, blood tests, EKG and X-rays will be done to check if the patient is in good general health. These are the recommendations to do before the procedure: .
Corneal transplantation is usually done under general anesthesia, but sometimes local anesthesia with IV sedation is used too.
If the patient needs a full transplant, which is called penetrating keratoplasty surgery, the surgeon uses a circular cutting device to remove the cornea from the donor and also to cut the same size from the patient’s cornea. The donor’s cornea is placed on the patient’s eye and sewn in place with very small sutures, which will be removed at a later visit with the ophthalmologist. To prevent the risk of infection, antibiotic eye drops are prescribed to use. The patient usually needs to spend a night at hospital if a full cornea transplant is performed.
If the patient needs a partial corneal transplant, which is called Lamellar keratoplasty surgery, only the diseased layer of the cornea is replaced. After both procedures, the patient’s eye will be covered with an eye patch to avoid any infection during the healing process.
In some cases, corneal transplantation might be failed, so keratoprosthesis might be recommended which is the procedure of inserting an artificial cornea.
Keratoplasty is a procedure to replace the damaged or diseased cornea with a healthy, donated human cornea or an artificial cornea.
Feeling pain, itchiness, dryness and Inflammation are normal after the procedure. Take the medications prescribed by your ophthalmologists to reduce these discomforts.
If you experience symptoms of infection, such as fever, eye drainage, or pain, contact your surgeon.
Corneal transplant surgery or corneal transplantation is not recommended for patients which can get the same results through other types of less invasive treatment like contact lenses.