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Know More About Corneal Transplant!

Written and reviewed by
Dr.Aditi Manudhane 93% (47ratings)
MBBS, MS - Ophthalmology, DNB (Ophthalmology), FICO (London), FAICO -Refractive Surgery
Ophthalmologist, Gurgaon  •  13years experience
Know More About Corneal Transplant!

Keratoplasty or a Cornea Transplant is a surgical procedure to restore the vision of the eye of an individual by replacing the damaged part of the cornea with the donated corneal tissue. The cornea is a dome-shaped transparent surface of the eye. A Cornea Transplant Surgery is required for ulcer in the cornea, thinning of the cornea, clouding of the cornea, Keratoconus, problems caused by previous surgical treatment, Fuchs’ Dystrophy, swelling of the cornea, corneal scarring, and others. All these problems can damage one’s vision and Keratoplasty is used to mend the diseased or damaged cornea, relieve pain, and restore vision. Usually, the Cornea Transplant Surgeries are successful but there are risks most importantly of the rejection of the donor cornea.

Types of Cornea Transplant Surgeries - 

The type of surgery required by an individual is directed by the damaged part of his/her cornea and its severity.

  • Penetrating Keratoplasty or PK, commonly known as Full Thickness Corneal Transplant is the surgical process where all the layers of the affected cornea are replaced.  Penetrating Keratoplasty is required when an individual has bad scarring and bulging or severe cornea injury. Stitches thinner than a hair strand are used to sew the new cornea onto the damaged eyes. This type of Corneal Transplant Surgery consumes a long time to heal.  

  • Endothelial Keratoplasty or EK is the surgery required when the innermost layer of the eye cornea, called Endothelium, is damaged, mostly to treat Fuchs’ Dystrophy and other conditions. There are two kinds of Endothelial Keratoplasty: firstly DSEK or Descemet’s Stripping Endothelial Keratoplasty where about one-third of the damaged cornea is replaced by the new donated Endothelium and Descemet membrane with supporting stroma, and another type of Endothelial Keratoplasty is DMEK or Descemet’s Membrane Endothelial Keratoplasty where the damaged cornea is replaced by the new donated Endothelium and Descemet membrane without supporting stroma.

  • Deep Anterior Lamellar Keratoplasty or DALK, commonly called Partial Thickness Corneal Transplant is used when the lower layers of the cornea are not injured or damaged and only the external and middle layers of the cornea are replaced. This type of surgery takes less amount of time to heal than PK and also the quality essentials of the donated cornea are not that strict.

Symptoms of Cornea Rejection -

The donated cornea might get rejected when the immune system attacks it mistakenly. When this happens, one may require another cornea transplant and medical treatments. There are few signs and symptoms that one should not avoid after the Cornea Transplant Surgery as they could be a sign of rejection. These symptoms include light sensitivity, pain, loss of vision, and redness in the eyes.

Take Away -

Cornea Transplant Surgery is required when the cornea of the eye is damaged due to some injury or infection. The kind of surgery required depends upon the part of cornea damaged and its severity.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult a specialist & get answers to your questions!
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