Cornea transplants are the most common and most successful transplant surgeries across America. The rejection rate for this surgery is low, and most patients have their vision fully restored. A cornea transplant surgery is used to correct vision after cornea damage from a traumatic injury or disease.
The doctor conducts the transplant by taking out your damaged cornea and replacing it with a healthy one. He may take away some sections or the entire cornea, replacing it with donor tissue. The donor must have met strict criteria before death. For example, he must not have had severe nervous system conditions or had complications with eye surgery. Also, the cause of death should be known. These precautions prevent disease spread and increase the chances of the cornea receiving. If there is no donor tissue available, the doctor may fix an artificial cornea.
Meeting the following requirements makes you a suitable candidate for a cornea transplant:
Suffered corneal failure from previous eye surgery, such as cataract surgery.
Had corneal rejection after the first corneal transplant.
A hereditary corneal failure like Fuch’s dystrophy.
Keratoconus, which is the steep curving of the cornea.
Developing scar tissue after getting infections like herpes.
Persons whose vision cannot improve with contact lenses, or another less invasive procedure.
Persons with a functional vision but have difficulty carrying on their daily undertakings.
The cornea transplant only takes an hour, but a complete recovery could take six months to a year. However, only weeks after the surgery, you will be able to carry on your regular activities. At first, your vision may be blurry, and worse than it was before. But, be patient and give your eyes time to take on the new cornea.
The doctor will prescribe some steroid eye drops for some months. These ensure that your body has an easier time taking on the cornea. The drops reduce the chances of rejection, infection, discomfort, and swelling.
Five to 30 percent of the time, corneal transplants fail. You will know the transplant has failed when the cornea starts to cloud, and your vision declines. Treating the eyes promptly can stop the rejection with only minimal injury. If you notice any symptoms of rejection, let your surgeon know of it immediately. Warning signs include redness, light sensitivity, vision changes, and persistent discomfort.
Cornea transplantation can also result in other more severe complications, but rarely. They include glaucoma, eye infection, swelling or detachment of the retina, and bleeding. All these complications can be treated, so do not be alarmed.
If the treatment fails, the surgeon may repeat the corneal transplant. Repeated transplants typically have good results. But, the rejection rate for the second transplant is higher than that of the first. Yet, take comfort because a year after surgery, your vision will have improved considerably.
The success of the transplant requires a lot of care from both the doctor and the patient. It helps if you are in the hands of specialists who have handled many corneal transplants before. Visit Sacramento Eye Consultants at our Sacramento and Lincoln offices in California. You can also call 916-915-0300 to request an appointment.