The cornea is a translucent outer layer of the eye which acts as both protection for the rest of the eye and helps to focus light. Diseases of the cornea can significantly impact vision, and a corneal transplant may be necessary in order to restore vision.
Damage to the cornea typically occurs as a result of physical trauma, infection, or certain diseases (keratitis, ocular herpes, shingles, keratoconus, and Fuchs Dystrophy being the most common). People suffering from corneal diseases usually experience blurred vision, and significant sensitivity to light. In some conditions pain in and around the eye area may also be present.
Once a doctor has diagnosed a patient with corneal damage, the option of surgery may be suggested. There are numerous types of corneal transplant procedures which require a complete pre-operative exam in order to ensure the type is most appropriate for each patient's condition. In certain situations, using specialized contact lenses can improve the vision and avoid a corneal transplant surgery. If the patient sees well enough to move through their day-to-day activities with relative ease, surgery is typically not recommended. However, if their condition prohibits them from working or significantly affects their ability to live their life as they see fit, then corneal transplant surgery may be the best, and sometimes only option.
Depending on the type of corneal transplant procedure indicated, recovery time can vary drastically. Certain partial thickness transplants (i.e. DMEK and DSAEK) typically require 1-2 months of recovery, whereas others can require lengthy recovery time, from six months to over one year. Localized steroid treatments are required for many months to prevent transplant rejection, although newer techniques have a very low rejection rate.
Corneal transplant surgery is an evolving field with newer methods available to help improve vision and decrease recovery time. Nevertheless, if a patient suffers from a corneal condition or disease it is imperative to seek care from a corneal specialist who can discuss all the options available for treatment.
At Horizon Eye Specialists your consultation will likely be the most thorough eye exam you’ve ever experienced. We pride ourselves at performing a detailed, careful review of your eye and medical history, using the latest technology to determine your current visual status, performing repeated testing if necessary, evaluating your entire eye health, and reviewing your specific visual needs and lifestyle demands.
If you are a candidate, we know “one size fits all” does NOT apply to refractive surgery and will elect the procedure we feel will provide the best outcome based on all the data gathered specific to you.