Corneal Transplant Surgery - When Do You Need It?

The cornea is the window of the eye, which also allows us to see the world around us. There are different circumstances, when this vital part of our eye, can sustain damage, leading to the need to be treated. In cases, where the cornea is damaged, a corneal transplant surgery might be advised by your eye specialist. What exactly does that mean? Let's have a look.


What symptoms might require a corneal transplant surgery?


The most common symptoms come in the form of vision impairment such as blurry vision, eye pain. Scarring of the cornea is one of the most common reasons, when such intervention is required. Once you start experiencing such discomfort, it is always a great idea to check in with your doctor, as a lot of serious eye conditions can easily be dealt with or at least negated, if caught on time.


What could be the cause?


There are a number of eye conditions, which can have a negative impact on your cornea and lead to the need of surgery. Some of the are:


- Keratoconus, which can cause the cornea to mishapen and be more prone to damage, especially in combination with dry eye syndrome

- There are a number of different viruses and bacteria, which could also contribute to inflammation, which would damage your eye

- Bullous Keratopathy resulting from corneal edema

- Fuchs' dystrophy causes the endothelium cells in your cornea to die, causing your cornea to become unclear

- Surgeries and traumas can also be among the common reasons


Types of Corneal Transplant Surgeries


There are three different types of corneal transplant surgeries, depending on the cause and damage that your cornea has sustained. Each of them offers different risks and benefits.


1. Anterior lamellar keratoplasty


One type of this can be, superficial anterior lamellar keratoplasty, which involves the removal of the surface levels of the cornea, due to scarring and replacing it with new donor tissue.


Deep anterior lamellar keratoplasty is a procedure that almost the entire corneal thickness and then switching it with a new one from a donor. This is an effective procedure, when the endothelium of a patient is functioning properly.


2. Endothelial keratoplasty


This type of surgery is performed when dead tissue needs to be removed from the inner parts of the cornea or for another reason that is causing it to not function properly. It has 2 variations to it. One of them involves a larger scale transplantation, where about a third of the cornea is switched, called descemet stripping endothelial keratoplasty. Vision of patients can improve up to 20/30 and even more within two months.


The other procedure is called descemet membrane endothelial keratoplasty and it involves a process, where a very thin piece is transplanted into the cornea, instead. It is very efficient and has about only about 1% rejection risk. A lot of the patents can experience an improvement around 20/25 and even 20/20.


3. Penetrating keratoplasty


This type of surgery involves switching a piece of donor cornea, while removing the same size of the cornea of the patient. The cut is done in the middle of the cornea and once the procedure is done the cornea is sutured for a time, so revisiting for removing the sutures is advised. There is no need for patients to stay in the hospital after this procedure.


There are a number of conditions, which can lead to the need of a corneal transplant surgery, so doing regular eye check ups is advised as some of those conditions can be prevented in early development or negate their effect later in life. In case you need to go through any type of eye surgery, wearing eye glasses is one way to a quicker recovery, as they block excessive light which my slow down the healing. For quality eyewear, make sure to check out our shop!