Corneal Transplant Surgery
What is the cornea?
The cornea is the clear front window of the eye that covers the colored iris and the round pupil. Light is focused while passing through the cornea so we can see.
When is a corneal transplant needed?
A corneal transplant is needed if:
- Vision cannot be corrected satisfactorily with eyeglasses or contact lenses
- Painful swelling cannot be relieved by medications or special contact lenses
Conditions that may cause the need for a corneal transplant:
- Corneal failure after other eye surgery, such as cataract surgery
- Keratoconus, a steep curving of the cornea
- Hereditary corneal failure, such as Fuchs Distrophy
- Scarring after infections, especially after herpes
- Rejection after first corneal transplant
What happens if you decide to have a corneal transplant?
Once you and your ophthalmologist decide you need a corneal transplant, your name is placed on a list at the local eye bank. Usually the wait for a donor cornea is not very long. Before a cornea is released for a transplant, the eye bank tests the cornea for clarity.
The Day of Surgery
Surgery is often done on an outpatient basis. You will be given eye drops and perhaps a sedative to help you relax. Either local or general anesthesia is used, depending on your age, medical condition and eye disease.
A successful corneal transplant requires care and attention on the part of both patient and physician. Of all transplant surgery done today – including heart, lung and kidney – corneal transplants are the most common and successful.