Things To Know About Corneal Transplant Surgery

It’s important to be informed and educated on things that would impact our health, especially when you are talking about your eye - the very entrance to our organs. Corneal transplants happen when there is irreversible damage to the cornea, which is the transparent membrane situated in front of and protecting the eye, resulting in pain or intense visual disturbance. Find out more about corneal transplants, what is involved during a transplant, and how it restores full vision.

What is a corneal transplant?

A corneal transplant is an operation to replace a damaged or diseased cornea with a healthy one from a donor. The procedure is also known as keratoplasty.

Corneal transplant surgery is usually performed to improve vision. They can also be done to relieve pain or other symptoms caused by a diseased or damaged cornea.

Corneal transplants are usually successful. However, there is a risk that the body will reject the new cornea. This rejection can happen even if the donor and recipient have the same blood type.


A corneal transplant may be necessary if you have the following symptoms:

  • Blurry vision-Corneal pain or sensitivity to light
  • Decreased vision in low-lighting conditions
  • Difficulty seeing at night
  • Halos around lights
  • Redness in the eye

If you experience any of these symptoms, it's important to see an ophthalmologist right away for an evaluation.


There are several reasons why someone may need a corneal transplant surgery, including:

  • Corneal dystrophy – a group of inherited disorders that cause the cornea to thin and deteriorate
  • Keratoconus – a condition in which the cornea thins and changes shape, causing vision problems
  • Scarring from injury or infection
  • Severe dry eye In most cases, cornea replacement is successful and leads to improved vision. Complications are rare but can include rejection of the transplanted tissue, infection, and glaucoma.

How is it performed?

The surgery is performed by an ophthalmologist, a medical doctor who specializes in the care of the eyes.

The first step in a cornea replacement is to remove the damaged or diseased cornea. This is done with a special instrument called a trephine. Next, the healthy donor tissue is cut to fit the eye and placed over the opening created by the trephine.

The last step is to secure the donor tissue in place with sutures (small stitches). In most cases, only partial-thickness sutures are used which dissolve on their own over time. In some cases, full-thickness sutures are required which will need to be removed by your ophthalmologist after the eye has healed.

Corneal transplants can be performed on one eye or both eyes depending on the extent of damage to the corneas.

What are the risks after the transplantation?

Corneal transplants are generally safe and effective, but like any surgery, there are risks involved. The most common complication after surgery is rejection, which occurs when the body's immune system attacks the new cornea. Rejection can happen at any time after surgery but is most likely to occur in the first few months. Other complications that can occur include infection, bleeding, and inflammation.

Some things before and after surgery to consider

There are a few things to keep in mind before and after your corneal transplant surgery. First, it is important to have a realistic expectation of the surgery and what it can achieve. Secondly, you should be aware of the potential risks and complications associated with the surgery. Lastly, there are a few things you can do to prepare for the surgery and help ensure a successful outcome.

Before surgery, it is important to have a detailed discussion with your surgeon about your expectations. It is also important to understand the potential risks and complications associated with cornea replacement surgery. Your surgeon should provide you with all of the information you need to make an informed decision about whether or not to proceed with surgery.

After Surgery

After your corneal transplant surgery, it is important to follow your surgeon's instructions for care and follow-up. There is a risk of infection and rejection associated with any type of transplant surgery, so it is important to take all precautions necessary to reduce these risks. Additionally, you will likely need to use eye drops regularly for several months after surgery in order to help prevent the rejection of the transplanted tissue.