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The cornea is the clear layer on the front of your eye. The cornea focuses light on the front of your eye so you can see clearly. In case of cornea damage, cornea transplant treatment helps you get your sight back. 

Is your cornea damaged by disease, injury, or infection and causing vision loss? While cornea can recover from minor injuries, some conditions will require a medical procedure to treat. The cornea transplant treatment is the common procedure for correcting loss of vision and relieving pain or other symptoms associated with the disease. 

What is Cornea Transplant? 

A cornea transplant is an operation to remove all or part of the damaged cornea replacing it with healthy donor tissue. 

Often referred to as keratoplasty or corneal graft, the procedure improves sight, relieves the patient, and can treat severe infections or damage. 

Who Can Have Keratoplasty Surgery? 

The ideal candidate for corneal transplant treatment includes those showing the following symptoms: 

  • Cornea scarring because of an injury or an infection
  • Cornea ulcers or sores from an infection
  • Keratoconus; is a medical condition that makes the cornea bulge out 
  • thinning, clouding, or swelling of the cornea
  • inherited eye problems such as Fuchs’ dystrophy
  • The issue caused by earlier eye operation

If you experience either of the above symptoms, first talk to the doctor who will let you know the specific procedure for your condition. 

Cornea Transplant Treatment Duration

The procedure takes less than an hour, and you may leave the hospital the same day or stay overnight, depending on the procedure. 

If the procedure involves transplantation of the pouter cornea, the doctor holds the new outer cornea with stitches, which can stay for up to 12 months. However, an endothelial transplant does not require stitches. It is held in place by an air bubble for a few days until it naturally sticks to the deep layer of the cornea. 

Cornea Transplant Side Effects & Risks

Like other surgical procedures, corneal transplant treatment has several risks and complications. Some side effects and risks may require emergency treatment, while most will fade away in a few days. 

The side effects and risks of cornea transplant complications include: 

  • Inflammation on the middle layer of the eye
  • Recurrence of the original eye disease
  • Surgery reopening resulting in wounds
  • Internal infection due to open wounds
  • Glaucoma due to pressure building up in the eye
  • Astigmatism where the cornea is not in a perfect curved shape
  • Red eye
  • Light sensitivity or photophobia
  • Vision problems 
  • Eye pain

Corneal graft rejection is an uncommon side effect of a corneal graft. The doctor will advise on the best corneal transplant rejection treatment when this occurs. 

Corneal Transplant Procedure Recovery Time

The recovery time for a cornea transplant depends on the cornea surgery type. Typically, it can take about 18 months to enjoy the final results of a full-thickness transplant. 

Sometimes, the vision may fluctuate between being better or worse before the issue settles. Some patients may require wearing corrective lenses even after the vision returns. 

Also, doctors could recommend laser treatment, a minor operation, to correct vision issues after the eyes have healed. 

Cornea Transplant Success Rate

Cornea transplant success rate ranges between 90% after a year and 74% after five years. Typically, the success rate depends on the patient’s surgery and health. 

Most people report partial restoration of vision after a corneal transplant. Corneal transplant life expectancy also depends on your health and how well you care for the eyes following the procedure. 

Cornea Transplant Alternative Treatments

Alternative treatment options available for the vision problem include: 

  • Conjunctival flaps
  • Anterior stromal puncture
  • Amniotic membrane transplantation 
  • Phototherapeutic keratectomy 
  • Bandage contact lenses 
  • Hypertonic saline eye drops

How Is The Procedure Performed?

During the procedure, the doctor removes a circular piece of the damaged cornea from the center of your eye and replaces it with the donated cornea. 

Most cornea transplant surgeries involve transplanting the full thickness of the cornea. However, with modern technology, doctors can perform partial cornea transplants. 

The full-thickness transplant or penetrating keratoplasty involves the removal of the circular piece of your damaged cornea, and the new one is replaced and held in place by tiny stitches. 

Partial surgery takes longer but comes with a much faster recovery time and a lower risk of complications. 

What Does Corneal Transplant Involve?

Before the procedure, the doctors may ask you to take ultrasounds, x-rays, electrocardiograms, eye tests, and blood and urine tests to ascertain you are ready for the procedure. Besides, you will provide consent for the surgery. 

On the day of the procedure, the doctor will administer a sedative to help you relax and a local anesthetic to numb the eye and put you to sleep. 

The doctor will do surgery on one eye at a time, so the amount of time spent in surgery differs and depends on the patient’s situation. 

Once the procedure is complete, the doctor will administer medications which include eyedrops and oral medications to prevent cornea rejections. 

What Should I Expect After Keratoplasty Treatment?

After the procedure, you should wear eye shields to protect the eyes during the healing process. To help the new tissue stay in place, lie on your back. 

Prepare to take a rest after the cornea transplant. Avoid strenuous activities, eye rubbing, or pressing the eye. 

The doctor will schedule the follow-up clinics and monitor your progress. In case of complications, contact your doctor. 

Things You Should Avoid Before Cornea Transplant Procedure

  • Stop aspirin and other medications that might contain blood thinners weeks before the procedure.   
  • Do not smoke tobacco at least two weeks before the procedure
  • Use the antibiotic drops before the procedure to prevent an infection
  • Avoid alcohol and other drugs that might affect anesthesia

FAQ

What is the success rate of a corneal transplant?

Cornea transplant success rate ranges between 90% after a year and 74% after five years. Typically, the success rate depends on the patient’s surgery and health. 

How long does it take to recover from corneal transplant surgery?

The recovery time for a cornea transplant depends on the type of procedure. Typically, it can take about 18 months to enjoy the final results of a full-thickness transplant. 

Does a corneal transplant cure vision?

A corneal transplant can restore vision and improve the appearance of a damaged or diseased cornea. 

Is corneal transplant surgery painful?

No! the doctor will place you under local anesthesia to be comfortable during the procedure. 

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Overall Satisfaction star star 5.0 Based on 1 reviews
  • Staff: star star
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  • Verified Verified Review
    Alin, Romania
    star star Feb 2022
    Super profesionisti. Inca din prima zi cand am luat legatura cu aceasta clinica domnul Mustafa a fost foarte atent si m-a tinut mereu la curent cu absolut totul chiar am avut o colaborare spuer ok cu dansul un adevarat profesionist. Si spitalul la care am fost indrumat este super cu personal profi care mi-au acordat tot sprijinul si au facut o treaba super privind operatia mea de transplant de cornee. Oricine doreste detali de mine in acest sent ma poate contacta pe email sau prin intermediul domnului Mustafa dar sfatul meu este sa aveti toata increderea in ei sunt profesionisti.Va multumesc mult pentru tot.Multa sanatate.
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