What To Know About Having Corneal Transplant Surgery

Several medical conditions can affect the cornea of your eye. Your cornea can also become infected or be damaged due to injury. The result could be pain or loss of vision. In some cases, transplant surgery might be the best option for treating your cornea. Here are some things you might want to know about having cornea surgery.

Why There Is Usually No Waiting List For A Donor

If your cornea is diseased or damaged, then a transplant becomes necessary. Donor corneas come from people who have agreed to donate their corneas after they pass on. Many people choose to do this even if they don't want other organs donated, so there is not usually a long waiting list for a cornea to become available. Also, a cornea can be transplanted into anyone. It's not necessary to find a perfect match like is necessary with organ transplants. This makes it even easier to find a cornea when it's time for your surgery.

Even though you don't have to be matched to the donor, it's still possible for your body to reject the transplanted cornea, so your eye doctor may give you medication to prevent this from happening. It's important to have regular visits with your eye doctor after you've had the transplant so it can be monitored for the rest of your life.

What To Expect With The Transplant Procedure

The transplant is usually done at an eye clinic using a local anesthesia. You might also be given medication to help you relax, but general anesthesia is usually not needed. This is an outpatient procedure so you'll go home to recover. There are different approaches to doing a corneal transplant surgery. They all involve removing the diseased or scarred portions of your cornea and then stitching in the donor cornea.

You'll have stitches in your eye when you go home and they may be removed on a following visit or your doctor may decide to leave them in place for the long term. Your eye will be numb throughout the transplant, so even though you'll be awake, you won't have pain or discomfort.

After the surgery, you'll wear an eye patch for a few days, and your eye doctor will give you eye drops to use. You'll have specific instructions to follow when it comes to restricting your activities and caring for your eye so you recover as quickly as possible. This surgery causes swelling in your eye that takes a long time to go away, so you may not know the full results of your transplant surgery for several months. However, with your old scarred cornea removed, your vision should improve.

The transplant surgery improves vision problems caused by the cornea only, so if you have other vision problems, they won't be corrected by the surgery and you'll probably still need to wear your glasses.