Corneal disease can cause loss of vision and significant vision impairment, and corneal transplantation can be an effective treatment for those affected by it.
Corneal disease can cause loss of vision and significant vision impairment, and corneal transplantation can be an effective treatment for those affected by it. Dr. Ksenia Stafeeva, the New Eyes corneal specialist, can perform corneal transplantation as an outpatient procedure. We can help to improve the effects of corneal disease and successfully reduce vision loss.
Causes of Corneal Disease
A number of factors may contribute to the development of corneal disease, which can ultimately necessitate a corneal transplant. These factors include:
- Trauma or injury to the cornea
- Corneal swelling due to Fuchs’ dystrophy, keratoconus, and/or other diseases of the eye
- Corneal swelling following an eye surgery procedure
- Corneal scarring
- Corneal infection due to the wearing of contact lenses
Corneal Transplant Procedures
Penetrating Keratoplasty (PK)
Penetrating Keratoplasty is the replacement of the cornea with a graft derived from a human donor. Corneal transplantation requires skill and dexterity that is far beyond what is required in other types of eye surgery. Dr. Ksenia Stafeeva is a fellowship-trained surgeon who is an expert in performing these complex procedures. A corneal transplant may become necessary as the last option, should vision improvement not be achieved with corrective eyewear or other treatment options. Dr. Stafeeva will do her best to avoid the need for corneal transplantation using less invasive procedures such as DSEK.
Descemet’s Stripping Endothelial Keratoplasty (DSEK)
DSEK, also known as a partial-thickness corneal transplant, is an alternative to the corneal graft transplant (PK). This procedure involves replacing only the thin endothelial layer of the cornea with donor endothelial tissue. The wound after this procedure heals faster than after full corneal transplant, and vision returns much sooner. There is also less risk of tissue rejection because the majority of the cornea remains in place.
Frequently Asked Questions
Below, you can find a list of commonly asked questions about corneal transplantation. If you have further questions, we encourage you to reach out to our practice.
Am I a good candidate for corneal transplantation?
Corneal transplantation is typically reserved for patients whose visual impairment needs extend beyond what other treatment methods can provide. Replacing a diseased or traumatized cornea with a healthy one can result in clearer vision and alleviate the irritation caused by corneal damage. Generally, factors such as a corneal infection or serious corneal injury may warrant transplantation. Dr. Stafeeva is a skilled corneal surgeon and will evaluate your specific needs before recommending a method of treatment. Less invasive methods of vision correction will usually be considered before resorting to a cornea transplant, but if it is determined that you would benefit from transplantation, she can use her advanced training to replace your cornea and minimize vision loss.
What is the recovery period like for corneal transplantation?
Though you may not be in a suitable condition to drive, you will likely be able to return home on the same day as your operation. While our surgeon will provide you with more detailed post-operative instructions, generally, your post-surgical care will consist of routine administration of medicinal eye drops to facilitate the healing process. Following the instructions provided by our surgeon is very important. Regular office visits will also be necessary to ensure your healing process is on track. The frequency with which these follow-up visits take place is often tailored to your individual needs, but they typically occur more often immediately following the procedure and taper off as weeks pass.
What results should I expect following full corneal transplantation surgery?
After your procedure, the cornea will have been replaced by a new, healthy, donor cornea. This transplantation can result in clearer vision that, for some patients, is as optimal as 20/20. It may take a few months or longer for the maximum acuity of your vision to be realized, but the general outcome of a corneal transplantation is clearer, restored vision uninhibited by corneal swelling or disease.
What are the risks of corneal transplantation?
Outlook for corneal transplantation is generally positive and the surgery is typically very common and successful. However, as with all major surgeries, there are risks involved. Dr. Stafeeva and her team will use their extensive experience to make every effort to minimize risks, but the surgery does come with a possibility of the graft being rejected by the patient’s natural immune system. Fortunately, with prompt discovery that the graft is being rejected – usually detectable by symptoms such as vision loss, pain, or red eyes – the rejection can be reversed by Dr. Stafeeva. If you experience any post-surgical side effects that are causing you concern, it is recommended that you contact us for evaluation.
For more information on corneal disease and treatment options such as corneal transplantation, please contact New Eyes today.