Cornea Transplant

Home / Eye Care / Cornea Transplant

The Corneal Transplant program at KMC Eye Hospital has been successful and has a qualified surgeon who has conducted over 300 transplants. The program has gained prominence for its clinical outcomes and we hope to give sight to many more people in the years to come.

Cornea transplant is a procedure that replaces your cornea, the clear front layer of your eye. During this procedure, your surgeon removes damaged or diseased corneal tissue. Healthy corneal tissue from the eye of a deceased human donor replaces the damaged cornea.

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

Why Cornea Transplant?

A cornea transplant is most often used to restore vision to a person who has a damaged cornea. A cornea transplant may also relieve pain or other signs and symptoms associated with diseases of the cornea.

A number of conditions can also be treated with a cornea transplant:

  • A cornea that bulges outward (keratoconus)
  • Fuchs’ dystrophy
  • Thinning of the cornea
  • Cornea scarring, caused by infection or injury
  • Clouding of the cornea
  • Swelling of the cornea
  • Corneal ulcers, including those caused by infection
  • Complications caused by previous eye surgery

Risk

Most cornea transplant procedures are successful. But cornea transplant carries a small risk of complications, such as rejection of the donor cornea. Some of the complications that can arise are:

  • Eye infection
  • Increased risk of clouding of the eye’s lens (cataracts)
  • Pressure increase within the eyeball (glaucoma)
  • Problems with the stitches used to secure the donor cornea
  • Rejection of the donor cornea
  • Swelling of the cornea

Results

Most people who receive a cornea transplant will have their vision at least partially restored. What you can expect after your cornea transplant depends on the reason for your surgery and your health.

Your risk of complications and cornea rejection continues for years after your cornea transplant. For this reason, expect to see your eye doctor annually. Cornea rejection can often be managed with medications.

Treatment:

During the most common type of cornea transplant (penetrating keratoplasty), the entire thickness of the abnormal or diseased cornea is cut through to remove a small button-sized disc of corneal tissue. The donor cornea, cut to fit, is placed in the opening. And then the new cornea is placed and stitched with a fine thread to keep it in position. The stitches may be removed at a later visit.

Replacing the inner layer of the cornea. This procedure, called a deep lamellar transplant, replaces only the innermost layer of your cornea’s five layers. A small incision is made in the side of your eyeball to allow for removal of your cornea’s inner layer without damaging the outer layers. A donor graft replaces the removed portion.

Replacing the surface layers of the cornea. The outer layers of the cornea that have been damaged by certain diseases and conditions can be replaced using a procedure called surface lamellar transplant. These surface layers, too, can be removed and replaced with a donor graft.