Skip to content

    Eye Health Center

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Cornea Transplant

    How Full Thickness Cornea Transplants Are Performed

    The surgery can be done using local anesthesia. This uses medication to numb the eye and stop it from moving. The patient stays awake although sedated during the surgery.

    Another option is general anesthesia. In this case, the patient is put to sleep for the procedure.

    The surgeon uses a special cutting instrument called a trephine, which works like a cookie cutter. It removes a round section of damaged cornea from the front of your eye.

    The same process is used to remove a similar-sized circle of cornea from the donor's eye. The surgeon places the new section of cornea onto your eye. Then he or she sews it into place using ultra-thin stitches with the help of a microscope.

    Success Rates of Cornea Transplants

    Experts know more about the long-term success rates of penetrating cornea transplants, which use all the layers of the cornea.

    Success rates are also affected by the problem that needed to be fixed with the transplant. For example, research has found that the new cornea lasts for at least 10 years in:

    • 89% of people with keratoconus
    • 73% of people with Fuchs' dystrophy
    • 60% to 70% of people with corneal scarring

    Recovery From a Cornea Transplant

    The risks of complications vary depending on how many layers of the cornea are transplanted. The cornea is “immunologically privileged” so that no matching of donor to recipient is required. Additionally, steroid eye drops afford protection against rejection so that pills and systemic medications are not required to prevent rejection.Your body is even less likely to reject the transplant if only the outer layers are used, compared to using all the layers or the deepest layer. Rejection happens in less than 20% of cases overall.

    Other problems can include:

    In addition, some ailments that damage people's original cornea can also harm the new cornea. For example, there is the possibility of recurrence of herpes simplex infection in the transplant.

    Today on WebMD

    Woman holding tissue to reddened eye
    Learn about causes, symptoms, and treatments.
    eye
    Simple annoyance or the sign of a problem?
     
    red eyes
    Symptoms, triggers, and treatments.
    blue eye with contact lens
    Tips for wearing and caring.
     
    Understanding Stye
    Article
    human eye
    Article
     
    eye
    Video
    eye exam timing
    Video
     
    vision test
    Tool
    is vision correction surgery for you
    Article
     
    high tech contacts
    Article
    eye drop
    Article