Cornea Transplant Surgery – Types, Symptoms & Recovery

Cornea Transplant Surgery – Types, Symptoms & Recovery
Cornea Transplant Surgery – Types, Symptoms & Recovery

Corneal disease is the fourth most common reason to lose sight and cause complete blindness. This corneal eye disease is affecting more than 10 million people around the world.

The unhealthy or scarred cornea affects the vision of the person by scattering or distorting the light and therefore causes blurred and glared vision. Cornea transplant surgery is performance in order to gain the proper vision of the patients having blurred and glared vision.

Table of Contents

What is Cornea transplant surgery?

Cornea transplant surgery is the process where the damaged or the scarred cornea is replaced with healthy tissue from an organ donor. There are two main types of cornea transplant:

● Traditional, full-thickness cornea transplant
● Back layer cornea transplant

A graft replaces the central cornea tissue which is damaged due to any eye injury, or disease with the healthy corneal tissue which is donated from the eye bank.

Who needs a corneal transplant surgery?

In order to have a clear and good vision, a healthy corneal is essential. If anyone’s cornea is damaged due to any injury, then it becomes swollen, scarred, and even distorts the vision of the patient.

A corneal transplant is necessary if eyeglasses or contact lenses failed to restore the proper functional eyesight of the patient. If the patient is experiencing painful swelling which is not relieved by the medications and other special contact lenses.
Certain conditions affect the clarity of the cornea and therefore putting the patient at a higher risk of cornea damage. These conditions include:

● Eye herpes
● Fungal keratitis
● Trichiasis
● Hereditary conditions
● Advanced keratoconus
● Thinning of cornea
● The irregular shape of the cornea
● Rare complications from LASIK surgery
● Chemical burns of the cornea
● Damage from an eye injury
● Excessive swelling of the cornea
● Rejection following a previous corneal transplantation
Cataract surgery complications

How should one be prepared for corneal transplant surgery?

There are a few things that one should follow prior to corneal transplant surgery.
Prior to the corneal transplant surgery scheduling, the patient should go throw an eye examination. The doctor will note the accurate eye measurements of the patient and treat any unrelated eye problems which may affect the patient during or post-surgery.

The doctor should be informed of all the medical conditions and medical history of the patient before the surgery. The patient should also show the regularly prescribed medicines that they use to check if there are any side effects.

The patient may be given a list of do’s and don’ts prior to the surgery such as:

● No eating before the night of the surgery
● Wearing comfortable loose clothes during the surgery
● Do not wear any makeup, creams, lotions, and jewelry
● Ask someone to drive you back home after the surgery

What happens after corneal transplant surgery?

After the corneal transplant surgery, the patient can be sent home on the same day of the surgery. The patient may feel a little pain and swelling in the eye and is advised to wear an eye patch and gauze over the operated eye for three to four days. 

The patient should not rub their eye and take the prescribed eye drops and tablets to get relief from the pain, swelling and also heal fast. The patient should immediately go to their doctor if they experience the following symptoms, such as:

● shortness of breath
● coughing
● chest pain
● a fever
● chills
● nausea
● vomiting

What are the risk factors that are associated with corneal transplant surgery?

Despite cornel transplant surgery being a relatively safe procedure, there are some risks involved with this, however, if the patient is consulted in some of the best eye hospitals the risk factors may be reduced due to the sophisticated equipment and the skilled doctors. The risks include:

  • Bleeding

    Sometimes after the surgery, the patient may experience bleeding from the operated eye, in such cases, the patient should immediately be taken to the hospital and treated.
  • Infection

    Infection is one of the most common risk factors that is seen in not just corneal transplant surgery but any translational surgery. The doctor might give the patient some medicines to prevent the infection after the surgery.
  • Swelling

    There will be slight swelling in the eye after the surgery, however, if the intensity is increased and if the patient experiences pain along with the swelling then they must be taken to the doctor.
  • Clouding of the lens, or cataracts

    : This usually occurs when the remaining cells grow back after the surgery. This foggy up the vision of the patient as the light is not that likely to travel through the lens.
  • Increased pressure in the eyeball, or glaucoma:

    This is yet another risk that is associated with corneal transplantation surgery.
  • Rejection:

    The human body may reject the transplanted tissue, apparently 20% of the patients experience rejection after the surgery. In most cases, the steroid eye drops control and even prevent rejection in the body. The rejection of the transplanted tissue may decrease but does not go away completely. Some of the signs that the patient’s body is rejecting the transplanted tissue are:
    ● decreasing vision
    ● increasing redness of the eye
    ● increasing pain
    ● increasing sensitivity to light

What can I expect after a corneal transplant?

The complete recovery after a cornea transplant surgery can take about a year or even longer. 

At first, the vision of the patient might be blurry and even it can be worst than before in some of the cases. As the vision improves the patient may gradually get back to their normal life.

After the surgery for some weeks patients are not advised to do the heavy lifting and intense workouts, the patient may return to their work after a few weeks of the surgery. 

There are not any complications associated with the surgery, following the advice, taking prescribed medicines, and having regular checkups is enough for the complete recovery.

Have a question ?

If you have any questions about cornea and cornea treatment

Contact for Second Opinion or Free Counselling

Call +1 (302) 451 9218
en English