The cornea serves as the window to the eye. It is the thin, transparent membrane that covers the surface of the eye and protects it from dust, germs, and other potentially harmful elements. A healthy cornea shields the eye and focuses light so that it can properly reach the lens and the retina.
A diseased or injured cornea may cause significant vision problems, discomfort or pain. If corneal conditions have not responded to eye drops, contact lenses, or other management options, a corneal transplant is often an appropriate treatment option.
The team of expert ophthalmologists and board-certified eye surgeons at Milan Eye Center performs a number of different types of corneal transplants, including penetrating keratoplasty. Penetrating keratoplasty involves a complete transplant of the damaged or diseased cornea with a donor cornea. Learn more below about this surgical procedure, and visit the Milan Eye Center location nearest you for a consultation.
If a patient suffers poor vision or chronic pain from a corneal condition, disease, or injury, they are likely a good candidate for a corneal transplant. Because penetrating keratoplasty involves a complete transplant of the cornea, it is often the best treatment option for those with more severe corneal disease.
If distorted vision or eye pain have a significant impact on your daily life, speak with your doctor at Milan Eye Center about whether or not a penetrating keratoplasty could be a treatment option for you.
Penetrating keratoplasty is also called a “full thickness” corneal transplant, meaning the entire cornea is removed and replaced by a donor cornea. Before the penetrating keratoplasty procedure begins, a local or general anesthesia is administered. Your eye surgeon will then use a trephine, a circular cutting device, to cut the donor cornea to the exact shape and size that is needed.
A second trephine is then used to remove a matching portion of the patient’s cornea, at which point the donor tissue is positioned and sewn into place. The physician will then apply antibiotic eye drops and cover the eye with a protective shield.
A penetrating keratoplasty is an outpatient procedure, meaning that patients are able to go home the same day as their surgery. Most patients will return the following day for a post-operative appointment.
Following a corneal transplant, patients are given medicated eye drops to take in the subsequent weeks and months to aid the healing process. After the procedure, patients may find that their vision is blurry while the eye adjusts to the new cornea. While recovery times vary, most patients find that their eyes heal and vision improves over the course of a few months after surgery.
During the days following the procedure, it is important to protect the eye as much as possible. Your doctor may recommend that you wear a protective shield during this time. As the eye continues to heal in the following weeks and months, we recommend avoiding activities which may cause trauma to the eye, such as playing sports.
If you think you might be a good candidate for penetrating keratoplasty or another type of corneal transplant, please contact the Milan Eye Center location nearest you to make an appointment. Our team of ophthalmologists and board-certified eye surgeons has extensive experience performing corneal transplants and will help you understand the treatment options available.
“Seeing Dr. Sajja was very easy and efficient. He was very thorough and professional. He was also very honest in what he felt needed to be done. He also had a very good bedside manner and was caring, nothing was painful at all. The surgery was a quick procedure and I was in excellent care. I was amazed that Dr. Sajja himself called me two days after surgery to check-up on me!”
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