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Cornea Transplant

Do you require a corneal transplant? If your cornea has sustained serious damage, it may well be the case that you do. A corneal transplant is one of the most routine and successful transplant procedures available. Put simply, it can save your sight.

What is a cornea transplant?
A corneal transplant, also referred to as penetrative keratoplasty or (PK), is a procedure where a corneal tissue graft is used to replace damaged tissue on the surface of the eye. The thought behind the procedure is that a damaged cornea disperses the light coming in to the eye and causes blurred vision so that removing it should restore normal sight. The chance of rejection with corneal transplants is extremely low. Should a graft rejection occur, a number of techniques are available that help to manage the graft transplantation process, ensuring success in 80% of operations carried out according to available statistics.

Who is suitable for a Cornea Transplant?
A specialist makes the decision on a case by case basis as to whether a patient is suited for transplant surgery or not. Generally, corneal transplants are for sufferers with LASIK complications, keratoconus, fungal keratitis or corneal damage sustained because of chemical burns, infection or as a result of an accident resulting in eye injury. When serious difficulties arise with a patient’s sight, it is often the case that corrective contact lenses cannot restore vision satisfactorily, thus requiring in certain cases corneal transplantation surgery.

How does the cornea Transplant work?
Since you are receiving a transplant you will need a donor cornea. Initially you will be placed on a cornea recipient list, which can take up to two weeks. The transplant is a routine, outpatient procedure and is conducted with a local anaesthetic. The surgeon uses special equipment to hold the eye open and then cuts away the damaged portion of the cornea following this he stitches the healthy cornea into place. The surgery takes up to two hours. Vision through the eye will be blurry for a period as the eye readjusts itself to the new cornea but gradually makes a comeback over a period of time which varies from six to twelve months from case to case. The surgeon may remove the stitches depending on the recovery status from between three months to a year and a half. A plastic shield will be placed over the patient’s eyes to protect them from being bumped or scratched. Patients who repeatedly experience excessive light, pain, irritation, redness, or a decrease in sight capacity should promptly contact their eye care specialist.