Corneal Transplant
What is it? Overview Usage Side Effects and Warnings

What is Corneal Transplant?

This is a surgical procedure used to replace a portion of a diseased or damaged cornea with a healthy one. The cornea is the clear, outer surface on the front of the eye. The surgery is done by an ophthalmologist, a doctor who specializes in treating eye problems.

Cornea of the Eye
Cornea of the Eye
© 2009 Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

A corneal transplant can correct vision problems caused by infections, injuries, or medical conditions. It is often recommended for the following:

  • Keratoconus—a thinning of the cornea that causes blurred vision
  • A cornea scarred from infection or injury
  • Clouding of the cornea

Most people who undergo a corneal transplant enjoy improved vision for many years, or even a lifetime. It can take up to a year for vision to stabilize after surgery. Most people still need to wear glasses or contacts.

Possible Complications

The procedure is highly successful. Severe complications are rare. If you are planning to have a corneal transplant, your doctor will review a list of possible complications, which may include:

  • Rejection of the new cornea—The body’s defense system attacks the new tissue, damaging it.
  • Glaucoma —This is a vision-impairing disease caused by increased pressure inside the eye.
  • Problems focusing
  • Swelling or detachment of the retina —The retina is the part of the eye that sends light and images to the brain via the optic nerve (detachment occurs when the retina is lifted or pulled from its normal position).
  • Cataract —A clouding of the eye's lens leads to decreased vision.
  • Infection
  • Bleeding

The operation is most successful for patients...