What is a Cornea Transplant?
A cornea transplant is an operation to replace the window to the eye. When the cornea becomes clouded and vision is reduced, the central portion can be removed and a new piece of cornea from the donor inserted in order to improve vision.
Clear transplanted cornea
What are the risks?
Cornea transplant is a relatively safe procedure. It is usually done under general anaesthesia. The major risk of the operation is that of rejection. The cornea is an organ just like the liver or kidney and can reject. In general, the rate of rejection is very low and even when a rejection episode occurs, it can be reversed with the use of eye drops if it is treated early. When the cornea does completely reject, it becomes clouded and another cornea transplant can be repeated at a later date.
The risk of serious complications such as an infection in the eye or bleeding at the time of surgery is extremely rare, about 1 in 5000 operations. These complications can be disastrous leading to total loss of sight of the eye itself.
The cornea transplant is done with human tissue. All donors are tested for the AIDS virus and for hepatitis. Those tested positive will not be used.
What do I need to do after surgery?
An eye patch will generally be worn for one day only. The plastic shield must be worn at bedtime for one month after surgery. Eye drops are used for at least 6 months and sometimes one drop at bedtime is used indefinitely.
You may also resume normal activities such as bending, walking, showering, bathing, etc, the day after surgery. Very vigorous activity should be delayed for a month after surgery.
When will I see well again?
There will be stitches on your cornea after surgery. These stitches will be removed over a period of one year. The best possible vision will be attained after all these stitches are removed. You may need to wear glasses to achieve the best vision possible for your eye.