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Patient Question

What is corneal transplant?


Assistant Professor

Department of Ophthalmology

Stony Brook Ophthalmology

Expert Answer

Corneal transplantation is a surgical procedure where a damaged or diseased cornea is replaced by donated corneal tissue (the graft) in its entirety (penetrating keratoplasty) or in part (lamellar or endothelial keratoplasty). The graft has been removed from a recently deceased individual and tested extensively by the local eye bank for diseases or other factors that may affect the viability of the donated tissue or the health of the recipient. The surgical procedure is performed by ophthalmologists with fellowship training in corneal disease.

Corneal transplantation is the most common type of transplant surgery done in the United States. More than 46,000 corneas are transplanted each year in the United States, where the procedure has a very high success rate.

Who is a candidate for corneal transplant?

Corneal transplants are used to treat persistent corneal infections, diseases that cloud the cornea (corneal dystrophies), traumatic corneal injuries and corneal scars that cannot be corrected by other therapies. Some examples include:

  • Bullous keratopathy, a progressive swelling and blistering of the cornea
  • Keratoconus, an eye disorder in which the middle of the cornea thins and eventually bulges outward
  • Severe corneal ulcers caused by bacterial, fungal, parasitic eye infections
  • Severe traumatic injuries that pierce or cut the cornea
  • Chemical burns of the eye
  • Corneal scars
  • Fuch's endothelial dystrophy, a progressive eye disease that causes swelling, cloudiness and blistering of the cornea
  • Failure or rejection of a previous corneal transplant



How corneal transplant is done?

Corneal transplantation is usually done as an outpatient surgery.  Corneal transplant is a very delicate and precise surgery which is done with a special surgical microscope and instruments. Your cornea specialist removes the diseased or damaged area of cornea using a special instrument s. Then the donor cornea will be stitched into place using fine sutures. In general, you can expect to have several follow-up visits during the first few weeks after surgery. Once it is clear that your eye is healing as expected, your doctor will schedule follow-up visits at longer intervals

If you would like to learn more about corneal transplantation, 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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