Corneal transplant is the surgical procedure to replace all or the damaged part of the cornea with the help of a healthy layer of the tissue. The cornea is the layer on the front of your eye that helps focus light so that you can see properly. It is the fourth most common cause of blindness and affects more than 10 million people worldwide.
A corneal transplant is performed to improve the function of the cornea and improve vision. If the pain is caused by a diseased or damaged cornea, a transplant may relieve that symptom. It may impede your job performance and ability to carry out daily activities. If the vision is not corrected by special contact lenses or other less invasive measures, then go ahead with this transplant.
Certain conditions affect the normal working of the cornea. Some of these conditions are –
In this surgery, either local or general anesthesia is used depending on your health, age, the extent of eye injury etc. To keep the eyelids open, a special instrument is used known as lid speculum. The surgeon measures the affected corneal area and prepares the donor tissue accordingly. There are two methods to perform this procedure
Traditional corneal transplant surgery – in this procedure, a surgical cutting instrument called a trephine or a femtosecond laser is used to remove a circular button-shaped, full thickness section of the tissue from the diseased or injured cornea. A matching button from the donor is positioned and sutured into place. A plastic shield is placed over the eye to protect it during healing.
Endothelial keratoplasty – It is a newer procedure in which only the innermost layer of the cornea known as endothelium is replaced. The overlying healthy corneal tissue is left intact. A tiny incision is made to place a thin disc of donor tissue on the back surface of the cornea. The small incision is self-healing and typically no sutures are required.