What is a Corneal Transplantation?

Keratoplasty, better known as cornea transplant, is the most common hard-tissue transplant. The procedure replaces part of the patient’s cornea with tissue from organ donors.

The cornea is the outermost part of the eye, and is largely responsible for focusing. Successful transplants often help relieve people of eye pain, and can even help people see again. One example of the results of a successful cornea transplant can be se here:

Cornea transplants also have a high success rate, but some peoples’ bodies do reject the donated tissue.

Most of the time cornea transplants are done for patients with damaged corneas, but there are some diseases that affect the cornea and transplants can be very helpful in these situations. Human corneas, for example, can also become cloudy and swell.

As with any serious medical procedure it is important to understand the risks associated with the procedure. Rejection happens in less than 20% of patients. This happens when the immune system attacks the transplanted material. Patients feeling pain or light sensitivity after a transplant should make an appointment with their Ophthalmologist. Other risks include infection and increased swelling, clouding and pressure.

Before the procedure one can expect to undergo a thorough exam so the doctor can take steps to minimize any potential complications after or during the surgery. The doctor will audit medications the patient is taking as well and make sure no complications will arise as a result. The doctor should also seek to make the eye as healthy as possible so no unrelated problems affect the procedure. Finally, the ophthalmologist will measure the patient’s eye to make sure the donated tissue fits.

The good news is that, unlike other organs, corneas generally don’t require long wait times. They usually come from deceased organ donors with healthy eyes. There are a few different types of transplants. Whichever the patient receives, they need to take care and prevent injuries.

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