Cornea is the clear, dome-shaped surface that covers the front of the eye. It is responsible for more than 2/3rd of the eye’s focusing power. It receives its nourishment from the tears and aqueous humor that fills the chamber behind it and does not contain blood vessels to nourish or protect it against infection. To see well, all layers of the cornea must be free of any cloudy or opaque areas.
When it becomes cloudy due to disease, injury, infection or malnutrition, vision is significantly lost or reduced. Various disorders affecting the cornea can lead to pain, irritation, reduced vision, and sometimes blindness.
The most common corneal disorders are Corneal abrasion, Corneal dystrophy, Corneal ulcer, Corneal neovascularization, Fuchs’ dystrophy, Keratitis, Keratoconus etc. Corneal blindness is the fourth leading cause of blindness in India.
Treatment options for all of them and corneal blindness are now available. They include corneal transplant and stem cell transplant and therapy, where the diseased cornea is removed and replaced with a good quality, natural cornea procured from a donor eye (eye donated after death) either in entirety (penetrating keratoplasty) or in part (lamellar keratoplasty). One eye donation can give sight to two corneal blind persons. Artificial cornea is also available now, for cases where multiple corneal transplants have failed. We offer all these advanced technologies at affordable cost to the patients. Apart from corneal surgery for corneal diseases, we conduct phakic intraocular lens implant surgery to correct myopia.
Your doctor may suggest cornea transplant in scarring from eye infections, chemical burns on the cornea, excessive swelling on the cornea, thinning of cornea or irregular shape due to keratoconus and hereditary corneal diseases or dystrophies.
First get registered after consultation with your cornea surgeon and then wait for the donor cornea. Waiting period for a donor eye depends on the voluntary donation of the eye.
Visual recovery after corneal transplant depends on the procedure type used. For penetrating keratoplasty, vision should improve for one year. Following the surgery, glasses or contact lenses maybe required for vision correction. The curve of the transplanted cornea cannot match exactly the curve of your own cornea. Rigid gas permeable contact lenses provide the best vision correction for corneal transplant patients due to irregularity of the cornea after the transplant. Typically, prescription for glasses is given once all the stitches are removed.
In certain diseases, such as ‘Keratoconus’ or conical cornea or in superficial corneal scars, we don’t need to change the innermost lining of the cornea, called the endothelium as it is intact and healthy. This procedure is called Deep Anterior Lamellar Keratoplasty (DALK). As compared to a full thickness graft, it offers a faster rehabilitation & reduced rate of rejection with improved graft survival.
Endothelial keratoplasty (DSAEK / DMEK) has brought a revolutionary change in the technique of corneal transplantation. It is a highly refined technique that replaces just the endothelial layer of the cornea, allowing surgeon to target the specific cause of the patient’s vision loss. In this technique no sutures are given and hence recovery is faster and more comfortable, making this the procedure of choice in cases of Fuch’s dystrophy & corneal decompensation.