Corneal transplantation is a surgical procedure where an injured or diseased cornea is replaced by donated corneal tissue. It is needed if vision cannot becorrected with eyeglasses or contact lenses.
A few reasons your ophthalmologist might recommend a corneal transplant are if you have:
- Inherited corneal thinning (keratoconus) with visual distortion.
- Scarring of the corneal from severe infection or injuries.
- Corneal clouding (Fuchs’ dystrophy) with visual loss.
Recovering from a Cornea Transplant
Total cornea transplant recovery time can be up to a year or longer. Initially, your vision will be blurry for the first few months — and in some cases may be worse than it was before — while your eye gets used to its new cornea.
As your vision improves, you gradually will be able to return to your normal daily activities. For the first several weeks, heavy exercise and lifting are prohibited. However, you should be able to return to work within a week after surgery, depending on your job and how quickly your vision improves.
Steroid eye drops will be prescribed for several months to help your body accept the new corneal graft, as well as other medications to help control infection, discomfort, and swelling. You should keep your eye protected at all times by wearing a shield or a pair of eyeglasses so that nothing inadvertently bumps or enters your eye.
If stitches were used in your surgery, they usually are removed 3 to 17 months post-surgery, depending on the health of your eye and the rate of healing. Adjustments can be made to the sutures surrounding the new corneal tissue to help reduce the amount of astigmatism resulting from an irregular eye surface.
The doctors at Southern Eye Group have either authored or reviewed and approved this content.