Corneal transplants are also referred to as Penetrating Keratoplasty (PKP) and corneal grafting. This sight saving surgery involves replacing an eye’s scarred, diseased or damaged cornea with clear corneal donor tissue. This procedure can improve visual acuity as it is replacing the cloudy cornea with clear donor tissue.
Corneal transplant is suitable for those with corneal decomposition, corneal dystrophies (other than keratoconus) including Fuch’s Dystrophy, and corneal trauma/corneal scarring.
The donor cornea is prepared to create the corneal “button”. The corneal button will become the transplanted cornea. The diseased, or scarred, cornea is then removed, creating a “bed” for the transplant cornea. Finally, the donor cornea is gently sewn into place with ultra-fine sutures (approx. one-third the thickness of human hair, or less). Stitches are typically removed at one year.
Postoperatively, patients should expect very gradual recovery of vision. In fact, the best vision may not be obtained for six to 12 months or more following surgery, even though vision may be improved from the first day after surgery in some cases.