What is the cornea?

The cornea is the curved window at the front of the eye which is clear in a normal eye. If the cornea is hazy, the path of light to the retina is interrupted, and sight may be distorted or patchy. The cornea has three main layers – outer (epithelium), middle (stroma) and inner (endothelium).

In some conditions, the outer and middle layers are predominantly affected e.g. bacterial infection, herpes keratitis, keratoconus and stromal dystrophies. Other conditions affect the inner layer such as Fuchs’ endothelial dystrophy and previous cataract/glaucoma surgery.

Why do I need a cornea transplant?

Cornea transplants are performed in order to improve sight, prevent perforation of the eye or to remove an infection of the cornea.

What does cornea transplant surgery involve?

The diseased cornea is replaced with a healthy donor cornea (from someone who has donated their cornea).
What type of cornea transplant is required?

This will depend on which layers of your cornea are affected. It’s not always necessary to replace all layers of the cornea - Mr Patel will suggest the most appropriate type of cornea transplant surgery.

  • Penetrating Keratoplasty (PK) is the conventional technique whereby all layers of the cornea are removed and replaced.
  • Deep Anterior Lamellar Keratoplasty (DALK) is a modern technique that is performed to replace only the outer two layers.
  • Descemet Stripping Automated Endothelial Keratoplasty (DSAEK) and Descemet Membrane Endothelial Keratoplasty (DMEK) are modern techniques that selectively replace the inner layer of the cornea.

How soon will my vision recover?

This varies from person to person and depends on the type of cornea transplant performed. Visual recovery may be faster in patients that have undergone a partial thickness transplant.

How often will I need to be seen after the cornea transplant surgery?

You will be reviewed within a week of the surgery and then at intervals of between 1 and 3 months for the first 6 months, depending on the type of cornea transplant and how your eye is settling.

What are the risks of cornea transplant surgery?

There are general risks that apply to all transplant surgery like rejection, glaucoma, infection and loss of vision but Mr Patel will discuss the specific risks that may be applicable to you.
Copyright © 2019. Amit Patel