Cornea refers to that layer of the eye which is in front of it and is helpful in focusing light so that person can see the object clearly. Cornea transplant is also known as keratoplasty, which is helpful in bringing back the vision, pain can be reduced, and helpful in improvement of damaged cornea. In some cases, surgeon removes all or some part of cornea and replaces the damaged or injured cornea with healthy layer of tissue. The healthy cornea is donated by the healthy person at the time of the death.
Cornea transplant is also known as cornea grafting that is a surgical operation where there is replacement of damaged or injured cornea with healthy denoted corneal tissue [the graft].
Penetrating keratoplasty– entire cornea is replaced.
Lamellar keratoplasty– part of cornea is replaced.
Cornea transplant is helpful in following cases:
The light rays get distorted when they pass through the damaged cornea and change the vision and affect the cornea negatively. Through cornea transplant, following disorders can be cured:
- Cornea scarring due to injury or infection.
- Corneal ulcers or sores because of infection.
- Bulge out cornea due to medical condition.
- Swelling of cornea.
- Clouding or thinning of cornea.
- Some inherited eye diseases e.g. Fuchs dystrophy and others.
- Problems of previous operation.
Doctor generally explains and lets you know the specific procedure which is more appropriate in that individual case.
Steps followed in cornea transplant
- Before the operation the doctor goes for some exams and lab tests to know the health condition of the patient.
- Doctor in some cases advices to stop taking some medicines such as aspirin for couple of weeks before the procedure.
- Some antibiotic drops are advised to prevent the infection before or after the transplant.
- Corneal transplant is done as outpatient procedure under local anesthesia; i.e. patient is awake but woozy, the area is numb and patient is let to go home on similar day.
- During entire surgery the doctor looks through the microscope, the procedure generally takes 30 minutes- 1 hour.
Until the top layer of the cornea heals, the patient is advised to wear an eye patch. Eyes remain red or sensitive to light for some period. Some sore feeling or pain also felt in eyes for few days. Eyes drops are suggested to prevent the infection and discomfort.
Bleeding, infection, high pressure in eye, eye lens clouding, cornea swelling are some side effects of corneal transplant. So whenever you decide to get corneal transplant, try to choose a good hospital having experienced doctors.