What’s involved in the surgery?
Corneal transplant surgery is generally very safe and effective, and the procedure has been performed and perfected by our surgeons over many years. The operation is usually done under general anaesthetic, so you won’t feel any pain or discomfort. You’ll also be able to go home soon after surgery, without the need to stay overnight in hospital.
Cornea grafting procedure:
- Before your surgery, it’s important not to eat or drink for at least 6 hours. You’ll usually be given a general anaesthetic, so you’ll be asleep throughout the procedure, although in some cases a local anaesthetic and sedative may be used instead.
- In most cases, your surgeon will use a highly specialised instrument called a ‘trephine’ to precisely remove your cornea. In some operations, only the front or back part of the cornea will need to be replaced.
- The donor cornea is removed in the same way to create a piece of the same size, and is carefully sutured in place with extremely fine stitches.
- After the operation, an eye pad and protective shield will be placed over your eye, and you’ll be able to go home as soon as your anaesthetic has worn off. You should ask someone to stay with you overnight, and you’ll need to come back for a check up the following day.
Full recovery from cornea grafting can take some time. It usually takes 12 to 18 months to achieve your best possible vision, andyou’ll need regular check-ups during that time. But if you suffer from severe keratoconus or another corneal condition thataffects your sight, cornea grafting is generally a very worthwhile and effective operation.
Alternatives to cornea grafting for keratoconus
Before considering a corneal transplant for keratoconus, your surgeon may recommend another treatment instead. New treatments for keratoconus such as corneal collagen cross-linking and corneal implants are highly effective, and involve less risk. You can discuss all of your treatment options for keratoconus when you make an appointment with one of our eye specialists.
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