The cornea is the transparent part of the eye that covers the front portion of the eye. A cornea is made up of proteins and cells. Unlike other tissues in the body, the cornea doesn’t have blood vessels. Its function is to ensure that the light is bent or refracted when entering the eyes. If your cornea is healthy and smooth, your vision will be clear. However, if your cornea is scarred or damaged, you will develop a blurry vision. If your cornea is damaged or unhealthy, your eye specialist may recommend a corneal transplant which involves replacing the damaged cornea with a healthy cornea from a deceased donor.
10 things to know about corneal transplant:
1. Who needs a corneal transplant? People whose cornea is damaged or unhealthy cornea might need a corneal transplant. However, an eye specialist is the best person to advise you on the corneal transplant. They will assess your condition and the need for a transplant. There are several conditions like Keratoconus, corneal clouding, corneal infection, corneal dystrophy and corneal injury that leave your cornea damaged. A person with damaged cornea may experience blurry vision.
2. What are the different types of transplants? There are three types of corneal transplants that are done depending on cases. Considering your condition, an eye specialist will determine which procedure will be suitable for you.
- If the inner and outer layers of the cornea are damaged, then you might be recommended to undergo a full-thickness corneal transplant, also known as penetrating keratoplasty. This surgery will have your entire cornea replaced with a healthy donor’s cornea.
- If your cornea is not completely damaged, and only partly affected (the front and middle layers), a partial-thickness corneal transplant is recommended. In this surgery, only damaged layers are removed and not the entire cornea.
- Endothelial Keratoplasty is performed when the innermost layer of the cornea is damaged.
3. How does one prepare for the surgery? Days or weeks before your surgery your eye doctor will help you to prepare for the surgery. If you are on some medication, let your doctor know about them, as you may need to stop taking some medicines prior to the surgery. Some lab tests may also be done to ensure you are in a condition to undergo the surgery. Ensure that someone takes you home after the surgery.
4. What does the surgery entail? The surgery usually takes less than 30 minutes and is performed under local anaesthesia. You will be awake but will be unable to feel anything. You will be able to go home the same day.
5. How much time will it take to recover? After the surgery, you will be asked to wear an eye patch for a couple of days. In some instances, it may hurt a little. You will be given eye drops to reduce the inflammation and avoid infection. For the next couple of weeks, you have to visit your eye doctor to ensure that your body has accepted the donated cornea and there is no infection. Your eye doctor will tell you when you can start normal activities.
6. Can eyes reject the donated cornea? A corneal transplant is a fairly safe procedure but like any other surgery, it involves a couple of risks. Your body may reject the donated tissue. In that case, you may need tissue from a different donor. However, the chances of rejection are very low.
7. What are the signs of rejection? Your body can reject the donated cornea after years of transplant surgery and, thus, it is crucial to know the signs of rejection. Redness, pain and watering of the operated eyes are the first few signs of rejection. If you notice any of the signs, consult your eye doctor that very day. Avoid the temptation of postponing it for another day.
8. Can a person donate the donated cornea after his/her death? If the cornea is healthy, then the deceased could indeed donate their cornea.
9. How long will the donated tissue last? A cornea transplant usually lasts for a lifetime if the body does not reject the donated tissue.
10. Will the vision change? You have to wait for weeks for vision to improve and your prescription glasses or contact lens may need to be adjusted.
Want to consult some of the best eye specialists in West Bengal regarding corneal transplant?
Visit Disha Eye Hospitals, one of the top eye hospitals in West Bengal. You can trust us with genuine advice and treatment.