The procedure will be done under a surgical microscope. The damaged part of the cornea will be cut out. The new cornea will then be placed in the opening. The new cornea will be fastened with very fine stitches. Finally, a patch and shield will be put over the eye.
There is another technique called Descemets stripping endothelial keratoplasty (DSEK). DSEK is used for some types of cornea transplants. It may result in shorter recovery time and better vision. With this technique, the doctor removes a much smaller part of the cornea, compared with older procedures.
How Long Will It Take?
How Much Will It Hurt?
Anesthesia will prevent pain during surgery. Pain and discomfort after the procedure can be managed with medications.
Average Hospital Stay
You will most likely go home after a few hours in the recovery area.
Recovery at home includes pain management and avoiding certain activities until the eye heals. Other recovery steps may include:
Using eye drops
Wearing glasses during the day or a shield at night
Not rubbing the eye
Protecting the eye from accidental bumps or pokes
Avoiding contact sports
Vision may initially be worse than before your surgery before your eye adjusts to the new cornea. It may take several months for it to improve. Stitches are usually left in place for several months. Regular follow-up visits will allow the doctor to monitor how the eye is healing. Do not drive until your doctor says you can.
Call Your Doctor
Contact your doctor if your recovery is not progressing as expected or you develop complications, such as:
Signs of infection, including fever and chills
Vision symptoms, including decreased vision, floaters, flashing lights, increased light sensitivity, or loss of peripheral vision
Increased eye redness
Persistent nausea or vomiting
If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.
Corneal transplants. National Keratoconus Foundation website. Available at: http://www.nkcf.org/corneal-transplants. Accessed December 14, 2017.
Facts about the cornea and corneal disease. National Eye Institute website. Available at: https://nei.nih.gov/health/cornealdisease. Updated May 2013. Accessed December 14, 2017.
Frequently asked questions. Eye Bank Association of America website. Available at: http://restoresight.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Frequently-Asked-Questions.pdf. Accessed December 14, 2017.
Williams K, Irani Y, Klebe S. Novel therapeutic approaches for corneal disease. Discov Med. 2013 May;15(84):291-9. Available at: http://www.discoverymedicine.com/Keryn-A-Williams/2013/05/24/novel-therapeutic-approaches-for-corneal-disease/.. Accessed January 3, 2018.
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