Cornea, the clear outermost layer of the eye may become cloudy, damaged or swollen due to some disease, infection, trauma or aging. If it does not heal it has to be surgically removed and replaced to improve vision. Corneal grafting is a surgical procedure that removes and replaces the diseased or damaged corneal tissue with a healthy tissue from a donor. The donated cornea is put to rigorous testing by the local eye bank to ensure that it is safe for use and free from any transmittable diseases. A corneal grafting is undertaken when damage to the cornea causes significant drop in the vision or when you experience pain while performing your daily activities like reading or working on the computer.
Penetrating Keratoplasty: This type of replacement technique is performed when both the front and the back layers of the cornea are found to be abnormal. PK is regarded as the gold standard treatment for advanced Keratoconus as it ensures good optical clarity. This is indeed a straight forward surgery with a consistently successful track record.
Endothelial Keratoplasty: This is an appealing alternative to restore vision and achieve visual stability when the inner cells of the cornea stop functioning. This method replaces only the diseased layers of the cornea, leaving the rest of the healthy corneal tissue relatively intact. EK is a fast evolving technique that has gained immense popularity in the recent years.
You may need a Corneal grafting if you suffer from
- Injured or scarred corneas due to traumatic injury
- Corneas damaged by infection or other eye conditions
- Excessive swelling of the corneas
- Thinning or irregular shape of corneas
You are eligible for Corneal grafting if
- The cornea is significantly scarred or swollen and other treatments are no longer effective or unavailable
- You have sustained severe complications from Lasik
- Vision cannot be corrected satisfactorily with prescription glasses or contact lenses
The Risks Involved
The greatest risk with corneal grafting is rejection. However,if treated promptly, can be stopped with minimal injury. Other risks that are much less prevalent but do occur are infection, bleeding, swelling or detachment of the retina or glaucoma.
A healthy, clear cornea is absolutely essential for a sharp and perfect vision. Do not expect overnight changes after a Corneal transplant. Your vision will improve gradually as the new cornea heals. However, it takes time to heal as the cornea does not have any blood supply. Proper care and prompt attention to any unusual sign of graft rejection is extremely important to ensure that the new cornea remains clear and healthy.
Remember, no other surgery has so much to offer when the cause of decreased vision is a loss of corneal transparency.