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Cornea Surgery

Keratoconus is a disorder that damages the surface of the cornea, distorting vision and making contact lenses or glasses unreliable. You can also get pain, blurred or double vision, sensitivity to light, and dry eye that may lead to frequent eye infections. Corneal transplantation is one of the most important treatments for keratoconus patients.


During a full-thickness cornea transplant (penetrating keratoplasty), a circular disk-shaped portion of your cornea is removed and replaced with a similarly sized portion of the cornea from a donor.

A cornea transplant (keratoplasty) is a surgical procedure to replace part of your cornea with corneal tissue from a donor. Your cornea is the transparent, dome-shaped surface of your eye. It’s where light enters your eye and is a large part of your eye’s ability to see clearly.

A cornea transplant can restore vision, reduce pain, and improve the appearance of a damaged or diseased cornea.

Most cornea transplant procedures are successful. But cornea transplant carries a small risk of complications, such as rejection of the donor cornea.

Why it’s done

Your eye is a complex and compact structure measuring about 1 inch (2.5 centimeters) in diameter. It receives millions of pieces of information about the outside world, which are quickly processed by your brain.

A cornea transplant is most often used to restore vision to a person with a damaged cornea. A cornea transplant can also relieve pain or other signs and symptoms associated with cornea diseases.

A number of conditions can be treated with a cornea transplant, including:


A cornea transplant is relatively safe. Still, it does carry a small risk of serious complications, such as:

Rejection of the donor cornea

Damage to the donor cornea caused by disease in the donor, if not thoroughly tested, or infection after the transplant

Stem cell problems result in premature loss of the donor eye or other problems

Stains and irregularities or defects in the recipient cornea

After a cornea transplant, there may be visual or other complications. Most can be treated. Some that are not are vision loss and death in severe cases.

Risks for stem cells transplants may include:

Stem cell dysfunction


Recurrence of the original disease

Recurrent donor-recipient eye

Disease in donor cornea

Other risks for transplant depend on the type of transplant and the kind

Signs and symptoms of cornea rejection

Your body’s immune system can mistakenly attack the donor cornea. This is called rejection, and it might require medical treatment or another cornea transplant.

Make an urgent appointment with your eye doctor if you notice signs and symptoms of rejection, such as:

Rejection occurs in about 10% of cornea transplants.


of cornea transplant

After a cornea transplant, the new cornea is usually covered by a clear, thin membrane called an “epithelium.” The cornea will look like a thin piece of white tissue, which is covered with a clear, pink-colored epithelium. The epithelium will gradually turn pink and eventually darken.

If you have had a cornea transplant, your vision may not be as good as it was before the transplant. Your vision may also be better or worse than before the transplant. This is because the donor cornea may not match the size and shape of your eye.

Your vision may improve after a cornea transplant.

Your eye doctor will monitor your eye after a cornea