Cornea Transplantation Surgery
Cornea Transplantation is one of medicine's big success stories. For patients, it's little short of a miracle-a one-hour operation that can restore that most precious of senses, our sight. It is one of the most commonly performed transplant operations and with modern surgical techniques and drugs the success rate is very good.
Why do people need transplants?
The transparent cornea tissue is very thin and when damaged by injury or disease it can become cloudy or lose its natural shape, both of which can lead to blindness or limited sight.
- Among older people, age-related or inherited conditions.
- People in their 20s and 30s, Keratoconus (in which the cornea becomes progressively thinner).
- To treat painful diseases or trauma.
- Infections: In rare cases, a cornea transplant might be needed if there's an infection in the cornea that does not respond to antibiotics and keeps returning.
- To treat corneal blindness because of trauma or disease
How does cornea and tissue donation work?
Cornea and tissue donation is only considered after a patient has died. One donor can restore the sight of two people through a cornea transplant. Donated corneas are stored in Corneal Transplant Service Eye Banks and can be kept for up to four weeks.
About the Surgery:
- A new cornea can be transplanted in as little as an hour
- First, a disc of damaged corneal tissue is removed
- This is then replaced by a disc of healthy tissue taken from a donated cornea, and the graft is stitched in place with super-fine sutures
- The patient will wear an eye-patch for a day or two and will have to use steroid drops but the transplanted cornea will gradually clear, restoring sight
What happens to donated eye tissue?
Corneal tissue can be stored in a special eye bank for up to four weeks before transplant, which helps ensure that donated corneas are available for emergency use as well as for planned operations.
The urgent need for more donors:
Sadly many corneas that could be donated go to waste because people have not registered or told their loved ones of their wish to donate. About 2,000 people become donors each year, but there remains a shortage of corneal tissue for transplant and many more patients could benefit from this life-changing operation if donation increased.
Manipal Eye Care provides the facility for Eye donation. To become a future donor, just walk into Manipal Eye Care Out Patient Department, and pledge your eyes.