A cornea transplant is a procedure that can help improve vision in people with certain eye conditions. This type of transplant is necessary when your corneal condition becomes too advanced for glasses or contacts to treat your vision problems.
The cornea is the clear tissue at the front of the eye that allows light to enter. Minor changes in the cornea can result in cloudy vision.
A misshapen cornea, one that has an irregular curvature, can also impact your ability to see. Your eye doctor at Metro Eye Care will determine when and if you need a corneal transplant.
Keep reading to learn more about how you know if you need a cornea transplant!
Donation of Sight
Corneal transplantation is one of the most successful tissue transplant procedures. A human donor is someone who has indicated they’d donate their organs and tissues in the event of death.
Donors make corneal transplants possible. There are two types of corneal transplants: full and partial.
The medical term for corneal transplantation is keratoplasty. During a corneal transplant, the eye surgeon replaces a damaged or poorly-functioning cornea with the donor’s cornea.
Reasons for Corneal Damage
Eye conditions that can lead to keratoplasty include complications from cataract surgery or other eye surgery, scarring or swelling, or previous eye injury. You also might require a corneal transplant to improve vision due to certain eye conditions such as corneal dystrophy, keratitis, or keratoconus.
Your eye doctor will tell you if you need a corneal transplant and prepare you for the surgery.
Types of Corneal Transplant Surgery
Some types of surgery involve replacing the entire cornea, and others replace only certain parts. At Metro Eye Care, our eye surgeon perform the following types of corneal transplant surgery:
Descemet’s Stripping Endothelial Keratoplasty (DSEK)
During the DSEK procedure, your eye surgeon will replace the inner layer of the damaged cornea with the healthy inner layer of a donor cornea. This surgery can treat the genetic condition of Fuch’s Dystrophy as the disease involves only one unhealthy or damaged layer of the cornea.
Techniques that replace just the unhealthy layer are evolving. They are sometimes called partial-thickness transplants.
Penetrating keratoplasty (PKP)
When all layers of the cornea are opaque, the damaged cornea is replaced with a healthy donor cornea. This is sometimes called a full-thickness transplant.
PKP surgery is required when the entire cornea needs to be replaced with a donor’s tissue.
Finding a Cornea Donor
With a cornea transplant, the process of finding donor tissue isn’t exactly the same as other organs. Our national eye bank system screens and scrutinizes every donor’s cornea to find the healthiest and most optimal ones for transplantation.
Like other organ and tissue donations, cornea transplant rejection can occur, sometimes several months to several years after surgery. Rejections addressed quickly are often reversible and may not harm the function of the transplanted cornea.
Following all post-surgery instructions, including the eye drop regiment, will reduce the risk of rejection.
While not as significant as corneal transplant rejection, minor complications can occur after transplant surgery. They include cataracts, detachment of the new cornea, eye inflammation, infections on the surface or within the eye, and retinal detachment.
As with any other transplant procedure, it’s best if you’re in good health with no ongoing chronic problems that can compromise your healing. Your Metro Eye Care doctor will ensure that you are a good candidate for the procedure should the time come that you may need a cornea transplant.
Do you want to learn more about the corneal transplant procedure? Schedule an appointment at Metro Eye Care in Paramus, NJ, today!