At the East West Eye Institute we have special expertise in the management of corneal disorders, especially in situations where corneal transplantation is needed, i.e. the surgical replacement of the cornea. The cornea is the clear dome that serves as the window into the eye. Often injury or disease can affect the cornea rendering this normally transparent tissue to become cloudy, ultimately limiting one’s level of vision. If the cloudiness is significant, corneal transplantation may be necessary to restore good vision. In corneal transplantation, the diseased or cloudy central cornea is surgically removed and is replaced with the healthy cornea of a recently deceased person.
There are many indications for corneal transplantation. Some of the more common ones include: keratoconus when acceptable vision can no longer be obtained with glasses or contact lenses, corneal scarring as a result of injury or infection, and failure of a previous corneal transplant.
Unlike cataract surgery where visual improvement is often seen within days, the healing process after corneal transplant surgery is typically much longer. While a patient is usually able to see well enough to perform most activities of daily living in the days following a corneal transplant, complete visual recovery is a slow process that takes 6 to 12 months or even longer. In addition, eyedrops are usually necessary throughout this entire timeframe. Due to the long postoperative course and the need for frequent follow-up, the decision to undergo corneal transplantation should not be taken lightly. Nevertheless, with proper care and follow-up the surgical results can be excellent, helping many patients to regain vision and independence where their corneal problem had previously prevented this.