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Patient Question

What is Keratoprosthesis (artificial cornea) transplantation?


Assistant Professor

Department of Ophthalmology

Stony Brook Ophthalmology

Expert Answer

Keratoprosthesis transplantation is a surgical procedure where a severely damaged or diseased cornea is replaced with an artificial cornea. While conventional cornea transplant uses donor, an artificial cornea is used in the keratoprosthesis procedure. The surgery is performed to restore vision in patients suffering from severely damaged cornea due to infections, injuries and burns. Keratoprosthesis is made of clear plastic with excellent tissue tolerance and optical properties.

Who is a candidate for keratoprosthesis (artificial cornea)?

When the cornea becomes severely diseased, it can be necessary to consider replacing it with a transplant from a donor or a specially designed substitute. Many people with corneal disease can be helped by regular corneal transplantation with tissue from human donors. However, in some cases such transplantation rapidly fails. The keratoprosthesis can be a good alternative in patients with severe corneal opacity secondary to:

  • Multiple corneal graft failure
  • Stevens-Johnson syndrome
  • Chemical, traumatic injuries
  • Corneal infections

How is the surgery done?

Keratoprosthesis transplantation can usually be done as outpatient. The surgery is performed by an ophthalmologist with fellowship training in corneal disease. After removing the diseased part of the cornea, the prosthesis is inserted into a corneal graft, which is then sutured into the patient’s peripheral cornea. The prosthesis offers excellent stability and safety. Its optical system can provide good vision if the rest of the eye is undamaged.

Because of possible complications that can result after surgery, patients with keratoprosthesis require relatively frequent ophthalmologic examination. For long-term postoperative safety it is recommended that patients continuously wear the soft contact lens (not felt by patient) and use preventive antibiotic drops. In addition, medications to control inflammation and/or glaucoma are used when necessary.

If you would like to learn more about keratoprosthesis (artificial cornea), please call (631) 444-4090 for a consultation with Dr. Azin Abazari at Stony Brook Ophthalmology.

For Additional Information Contact (631) 444-4000

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