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Corneal Transplant

Corneal Transplant

Corneal Transplant

Corneal transplantation is a surgical procedure used to remove a diseased or damaged cornea from a patient, and replace it with a donated piece of corneal tissue. Donor tissue come from recently deceased people who have taken the time to become a registered donor.

Donor tissue has to undergo rigorous quality assessments before being used in theatre. Donors are screened for transmissible diseases such as; HIV, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and Syphilis.

There are several types of corneal transplants performed, and this depends on the use of the tissue. Corneal transplants (or grafts) are generally classified as full thickness grafts (penetrating keratoplasty), anterior lamellar grafts (superficial or deep anterior lamellar keratoplasty), posterior lamellar grafts (Descemet’s stripping endothelial keratoplasty (DSEK), or Descemet’s membrane endothelial keratoplasty (DMEK)).

Indications for transplantation include:

  • To improve the vision
  • Contact lens intolerance
  • To relieve pain
  • To plug a hole in the eye (Tectonic)
  • To reduce or eliminate the bulk of an infected cornea
  • Cosmetic

Keratoconus causes a thin ectatic cornea in younger patients and Fuch’s corneal endothelial dystrophy causes a thickened cornea in older patients. Both result in worsening vision with disease progression. Together these two diagnoses consistently represent the underlying diagnosis in 80-90% of all corneal transplants performed.

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