Cornea Transplant Risks and Complications
Cornea transplant is a relatively safe procedure. Still, it does carry a small risk of serious complications, such as:
. Eye infection
. Increased risk of clouding of the eye's lens (cataract)
. Pressure increase within the eyeball (glaucoma)
. Problems with the stitches used to secure the donor cornea
. Rejection of the donor cornea
. Swelling of the cornea
. Bleeding from the eye
. Fluid leakage from your cornea
. Detached retina (tissue lining the back of the eye pulls away from the eye).
. Visual acuity problems (sharpness of the vision) caused by an irregular curve in the shape of the cornea.
. Detachment of the corneal transplant (for the endothelial transplant which is held in place by an air bubble).
Signs and symptoms of cornea rejection
In some cases, your body's immune system may mistakenly attack the donor cornea. This is called rejection, and it may require medical treatment or another cornea transplant. Rejection occurs in about 10 percent of corneal transplants.
Make an appointment with your eye doctor if you notice any signs and symptoms of rejection, such as:
. Eye pain
. Sensitivity to light
. Red eyes
. Cloudy or hazy vision
Below are some factors that could increase the risk of tissue rejection.
Read more about: Corneal transplant recovery
. The donor cornea
The main factors that affect donor tissue rejection are human leukocyte antigen (HLA) incompatibilities and blood type incompatibilities.
HLAs are a set of proteins in the body that regulate the immune system.
The type of antigens and antibodies that make up a person’s blood determine their blood type.
If the donor HLA or blood type is incompatible with those of the recipient, the recipient is more likely to reject the donor tissue.
. Health of the recipient
Certain preexisting conditions can increase a person’s risk of an immune reaction. Some of these conditions include:
. Herpes keratitis, which is a viral infection of the eye
. Uveitis, or inflammation of the structures in the middle of the eye
. Atopic dermatitis, which is a chronic inflammatory skin condition
. Age of the recipient
According to a 2017 review, younger people are more likely to reject a cornea transplant, compared to older people. This is partly due to the fact that younger people tend to have more robust immune responses.
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