Corneal Transplant Surgery

Overview

The cornea is the clear, transparent tissue at the front of the eye that function as a ‘window’ for the eye to view the world and has also the very important function of focusing light that enters the eye. To achieve those very important function the cornea must have a regular shape (for sharp focusing) and must be clear (transparent) for functioning as a window. The cornea is about 12 mm in diameter, and 0.50 mm in thickness in the centre, but if the cornea becomes opaque a patient would be functionally blind since the light will not get throughout the eye. The same happens if the cornea shape becomes irregular and does not allow sharp focussing such as in keratoconus.

Corneal Transplant

Corneal Transplant

Most diseases can be treated medically or with the help of contact lenses but in few cases corneal transplantation may be needed. Corneal Transplantation refers to the replacement of all of part of the cornea with a donor cornea.

In general, corneal transplantation is required for optical, tectonic or therapeutic reasons.

Optical reasons include opacification of the cornea (for instance after a severe corneal infection a corneal dense opaque scar can develop thus impairing vision), thickening of the cornea (such as in Fuchs corneal endothelial dystrophy) and shape changes (for instance in keratoconus where the cornea becomes thin and bulges forward not allowing proper focusing).

Tectonic reasons are associated with the loss of integrity of the cornea such as corneal perforation (post-trauma, infective or degenerative where a corneal transplant is needed to patch up and close the cornea.

Therapeutic reasons are usually severe infection, which did not respond to medical treatment and due to continue progression and worsening require a corneal transplant in the attempt to replace the diseased cornea and save the eye.

Cosmetic reasons when there is poor visual potential and an unsightly corneal scar damaging the cosmetic appearance of the eye

The cornea is 0.5mm thick in the centre, and the main functional layers are  the ‘epithelium’, the ‘stroma’ and the ‘endothelium’. The ‘epithelium’ is the first and foremost layer of the cornea and represents the skin of the cornea. The middle layer, the ‘stroma’ forms the majority of the corneal thickness and needs to be kept in a dehydrated state to maintain transparency. It is also the layer that tends to develop scarring if damaged. The innermost layer is the ‘endothelium’, which is very important for maintaining dehydration and transparency of the rest of the cornea. Corneal transplantation may now be performed to replace the whole cornea or only the diseased layers only.

Advanced Corneal Transplant Surgery Types

Like in any surgery there are risks in corneal transplant surgery. Sight loss is possible but fortunately rare with corneal transplant surgery. Read more about risks of corneal transplant surgery or request a consultation.

Why choose Vincenzo Maurino as your consultant for corneal transplant surgery?

Experienced, expert advice and excellent results