Corneal Tissue Transplants
The cornea is a transparent tissue that represents the first line of encounter between the light and the eye forming the main refracting surface of the eye to bend light rays to fall on the retina.
Any opacity in the cornea would decrease its clarity and impede the passage of light entering the eye resulting in poor vision.
The cornea is the first successfully transplanted solid tissue. The first surgical operation in this regard was performed in 1905.
The cornea is privileged by its site being relatively isolated from the lymphatic and vascular system that would lead to rejection.
Rejection is identification of a transplanted organ as being foreign to the body; fortunately rejection is much less encountered in cornea transplants than other organs.
Corneal transplantation, also called corneal grafting, is a surgical operation in which diseased tissue is removed and replaced by a healthy donor corneal tissue.
The surgical process takes about 1-2 hours in experienced hands. It involves removal of a circular area of the cornea (about 10 mm in diameter) with its opacity and patching its place by a circular patch from a donor cornea, which is clear.
The eye is kept patched with an eye pad for 24 hours after surgery and examined the next day.
Vision would be initially blurred and requires few months till improvement is appreciated.
Glasses may be beneficial at this stage to help both eyes to act together.
Follow up for at least one year at the clinic is mandatory when the time becomes right to remove the stitches that held the donor cornea in place .
Removal of stitches is done in the theatre usually under local anesthesia, It takes about 10-15 minutes, many patients experience a further improvement in vision upon removal of the stitches.