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What is the Cornea?

The cornea is the clear tissue at the front of the eye. It looks like the glass over a watch. It is the main element for focusing. When it becomes cloudy, vision can be dramatically reduced. This can be caused by disease or injury.

What is a cornea transplant?

A cornea transplant is surgery to replace a section of an impaired cornea with a section of a healthy donor cornea. The cornea has no blood vessels, so blood group matching of a donor to a recipient is not necessary, as in the case of organ donation.

When does someone need a cornea transplant?

A cornea can be damaged as a result of injury, infection, or corneal disease such as Fuchs’ Dystrophy or keratoconus.

What are the benefits of corneal transplant surgery?

The primary benefit of corneal transplantation is restoration of vision that is lost specifically due to corneal disease.

Who is eligible for a corneal transplant?

To determine who is a good candidate for a corneal transplant, the patient must be thoroughly evaluated by a corneal surgeon. Patients are considered suitable if they have considerable visual loss from corneal damage.

How do I know if I have corneal deterioration?

Your vision will be cloudy; you will not be able to see clearly through the affected eye. The black part of your eye will look grayish or white as it loses its transparency.

What are the risks of corneal transplant surgery?

The common risks of corneal transplantation include:

  • Primary graft failure
  • Infection
  • Graft Rejection
  • Astigmatism
  • Wound and suture related complications
  • Further to detailed evaluation of individual cases, your corneal surgeon will discuss the risks of corneal transplantation with you further.

Does the patient have to meet certain medical criteria to receive a donor cornea?

No, although you must otherwise be healthy enough for surgery. Patients undergoing a corneal transplant will be able to use any donated cornea. Unlike other types of transplants, corneal transplants do not require the donor and recipient to have the same blood type.

Nevertheless, sometimes the body rejects the foreign tissue. Anti-rejection medication is given to the patient after the transplant surgery to help their body accept the corneal tissue. If rejection does occur, the episodes can be medically managed to a certain extent. A second transplant can be performed if persistent graft rejection leads to graft failure.

Where does the cornea come from? What is an eye bank?

The donor cornea is acquired from accredited Eye Banks, with standardized infrastructure for evaluating donor tissue.

An eye bank obtains, medically evaluates, and distributes eye donations for use in cornea transplantation, research and education.

Who are the donors?

Donors are deceased individuals who, prior to death, agreed to donate their eyes/ organs or whose kith and kin decide and agree to donate at the time of death.