The cornea is the clear outer layer of the eye that helps focus light to create an image on the retina. When the cornea becomes damaged, blurry vision, pain, and sensitivity to light can result. In some cases, a corneal transplant (also known as a corneal graft) may be recommended to restore vision.
There are several different types of corneal transplant procedures, including:
Full-Thickness (penetrating) transplant: The damaged cornea is replaced with a full-thickness donor cornea.
Endothelial transplant (Descemet’s Stripping Endothelial Keratoplasty – DSEK, Descemet’s Membrane Endothelial Keratoplasty – DMEK, Descemet’s Stripping Automated Endothelial Keratoplasty – DSAEK): Only the inner layer of the cornea is replaced.
Lamellar transplant: Only a portion of the cornea is replaced.
Corneal transplant surgery is typically performed on an outpatient basis and takes one to two hours. After the surgery, the eye will be covered with a protective shield and a patch may be placed over the eye. Pain and discomfort are common after the procedure, but can be managed with medication. Most patients notice improved vision within a few weeks to a few months after the surgery.
The success rate for corneal transplant surgery is high, but it is not a guarantee. Factors such as the cause of the original corneal damage, the patient’s overall health, and the type of transplant procedure performed can all affect the outcome.
In conclusion, corneal transplantation is a highly effective procedure for restoring vision when the cornea has become damaged. Patients should discuss the risks and benefits of the procedure with their eye doctor to determine if it is the right option for them.