A corneal transplant (or corneal grafting) surgery is performed to replace the damaged or diseased cornea of the eye with a donated corneal graft tissue. The corneal transplant may be needed to replace partially damaged cornea (lamellar keratoplasty) or the complete cornea (penetrating keratoplasty).
Keratoplasty is the name of the surgery performed on the cornea in the eye. The corneal tissue graft is harvested from a donor (on death) after ensuring that the donor was not suffering from any kind of disease.
The cornea is the part of the eye which is transparent and covers the anterior chamber, pupil and the iris.
Corneal transplant surgery is most often used as a last resort after all other alternative remedies, such as cross-linking, keratoconus conservative surgery and medicines are not successful in repairing or healing the damaged cornea.
When do you need Corneal Transplant surgery?
Corneal transplant procedure is required when the cornea of the eye gets damaged due to a disease, trauma, and injury or scarring. The cornea get affected by these in such a way as to result in decreasing vision, pain and discomfort to the eye at times.
Damage to the cornea by an injury or trauma distorts the shape of the cornea and results in the vision getting affected drastically sometimes.
A corneal transplant will remove the affected or damaged tissue of the cornea and replace it with a healthy donated corneal tissue.
Are you a Cornea Transplant candidate?
The doctor will decide whether you are a suitable candidate for a cornea transplant surgery if:
- Eyeglasses and contact lenses fail to improve vision.
- If the cornea is swollen and painful but medications are not providing relief.
- Scarring is present caused by fungal keratitis, eye herpes and trichiasis.
- You suffer from the genetic disorder called Fuch’s dystrophy.
- You suffer from an advanced form of keratoconus.
- The cornea gets thinned or misshapen.
- There are complications from an earlier LASIK surgery.
- Your cornea suffers a chemical burn or damage due to an eye injury.
- The cornea is excessively swollen (edema).
How is the Corneal Transplant surgical procedure performed?
Before starting with the surgical procedure the ophthalmologist surgeon will discuss the best type of surgical procedure that is suitable for your particular case. The surgeon, or doctor, will also make you aware of the various benefits and possible complications with the type of surgery you choose.
The actual surgery starts with another pre-operative physical exam in which the doctor determines if you are ready for the surgery. The surgeon will administer either local, or general, anesthesia and keep the eye open with the help of an eyelid speculum.
There are two main types of surgeries – Penetrating keratoplasty (complete cornea transplant) and lamellar keratoplasty (partial cornea transplant).
In this surgical procedure the surgeon will use a circular cutting device (trephine) to remove the circular disc of the cornea for taking out the donor cornea. The trephine is again used to remove the exact part of the cornea from the patient as well. The donated circular corneal tissue is then sewn into place in the patient’s cornea.
The surgeon will next administer antibiotic eye-drops to remove the risk of infection and put a gauze patch on the eye.
This is most often done as an outpatient procedure and the patient is allowed to go home after the anesthesia wears off and the doctor/surgeon is satisfied that you are fit for discharge.
There are a few different types of methods to perform a lamellar (partial corneal transplant) keratoplasty procedure. A lamellar keratoplasty basically involves replacing only the damaged layers of the cornea and leaving the healthy corneal layers intact.
These are the different types of lamellar keratoplasty procedures:
- Deep anterior lamellar keratoplasty – This procedure involves removing the frontal layers of the central cornea and replacing them with donor tissue. This procedure is suitable for treating anterior corneal opacifications, keratoconus and scars on the cornea.
- Endothelial keratoplasty – This procedure is used to substitute the patient’s endothelium with either descemets/endothelium (DMEK) or posterior stroma/descemets/endothelium (DSEK). This procedure requires least number of sutures (1-2 sutures) and the rate of vision recovery is also considerably faster.
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What is the recovery time for a Corneal Transplant?
The estimated recovery time for a full thickness transplant can vary between 6 months to a year while the recovery time for endothelial keratoplasty is shorter and the patient may recover vision within a few days or a week.
What is the function of the Cornea?
The cornea is one of the most important parts of the eye that helps you see. It is the transparent portion of the eye that covers the front of the eyeball and is made of collagen. The cornea covers the pupil, iris and anterior chamber of the eye. It is composed of five main parts:
- Bowman’s layer
- Descemet’s membrane
The cornea is made of proteins and cells and is devoid of blood vessels. The cornea gets the required nutrients from the aqueous humor (watery fluid) present in the anterior chamber and the tears.
The cornea is responsible for refracting, or bending, of the light that the eye receives as well as to focus the refracted light into the lens of the eye, which in turn, presents a sharp image onto the retina, thus enabling us to see.
Why choose Travcure Medical Tourism Consultants for Corneal Transplant surgery?
Travcure Medical Tourism Consultants are a well-established medical tourism firm in India and have been operating successfully from a very long time. Travcure have been at the forefront of medical tourism due to the diligence of its team of experts as well as the cost-considerate packages on offer. Travcure Medical Tourism Consultants are connected to a wide network of ophthalmology specialty hospitals and clinics in all the major cities of India. The combination of expert care and low cost surgical provision has made Travcure the choice of thousands of foreign patients to undergo Corneal Transplant surgery in India with the guidance and assistance of Travcure Medical Tourism Consultants.