Corneal transplant recovery

corneal transplant recovery

Corneal transplant recovery experience

 Your Recovery

After a full thickness corneal transplant, you will need to wear an eye patch for about a day. Then you will need to wear a clear eye shield or glasses to protect your eye until it has healed.

Your eye may feel irritated or scratchy for a few days after surgery. But it's important not to rub your eye. Rubbing your eye could damage it. Your vision may be blurry for a period of time after surgery. For some people, it may take many months, and even up to a year, to get the full benefits of surgery and to see as clearly as possible.

Your doctor will give you eyedrops to help your eye heal and prevent your body from rejecting the donor cornea. Use the drops exactly as directed. You will need to see your doctor often to have your vision checked. Also, you will usually need to see your doctor to have the stitches removed. The stitches may be removed all at once, or they may be slowly removed over months or years.

You will probably be able to return to work or your normal routine in about 1 to 2 weeks after surgery. But your vision will still be blurry. You will need to avoid heavy lifting for about 3 to 4 weeks, or until your doctor says it is okay.

This care sheet gives you a general idea about how long it will take for you to recover. But each person recovers at a different pace. Follow the steps below to get better as quickly as possible.

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How can you care for yourself at home?

Activity

  • Ask your doctor when it is okay to drive.
  • Wear your eye bandage, patch, or shield for as long as your doctor recommends.
  • You can shower or wash your hair the day after surgery. Keep water, soap, shampoo, hair spray or hair dyes, and shaving lotion out of your eye.
  • Do not rub or put pressure on your eye.
  • Do not wear eye makeup until your doctor says it's okay. You may also want to avoid face cream or lotion.
  • Avoid heavy lifting for about 3 to 4 weeks, or until your doctor says it is okay.
  • Avoid swimming, hot tubs, gardening, and dusting for about 3 to 4 weeks.

Medicines

  • Your doctor will tell you if and when you can restart your medicines. He or she will also give you instructions about taking any new medicines.
  • If you take blood thinners, such as warfarin (Coumadin), clopidogrel (Plavix), or aspirin, be sure to talk to your doctor. He or she will tell you if and when to start taking those medicines again. Make sure that you understand exactly what your doctor wants you to do.
  • Follow your doctor's instructions for when to use your eyedrops. Always wash your hands before you put drops in. To put in eyedrops:
    • Tilt your head back, and pull your lower eyelid down with one finger.
    • Drop or squirt the medicine inside the lower lid.
    • Close your eye for 30 to 60 seconds to let the drops or ointment move around.
    • Do not touch the ointment or dropper tip to your eyelashes or any other surface.

SOME QUESTIONS FOR CORNEAL TRANSPLANT RECOVERY

Will I need to wear glasses or contacts after cornea transplant?

An irregular cornea surface is expected following full thickness corneal transplant surgery. This imperfection in the curve of the cornea, called astigmatism, results in distorted vision. Correction with glasses, contact lenses, or additional surgery is often needed. Special types of contact lenses (rigid gas permeable or scleral lenses [a larger lens that lays on the white part of the eye]) are not typically needed following endothelial transplants, but may be needed after penetrating keratoplasty or deep anterior lamellar keratoplasty surgery. Your surgeon will discuss the best options to meet your vision needs.

How soon can I drive after a cornea transplant?

You must not drive on the day of your cornea transplant. Someone must drive you home after surgery and bring you back for your follow-up visit.

If you have good vision in the non-transplant eye, you can legally drive 24 hours after surgery. However, your surgeon may recommend waiting longer before driving.

When can I return to work after a cornea transplant?

It may take a few days to a few weeks before you can return to work. It depends on your level of discomfort, your vision and what activities you perform at work. Jobs that require strenuous activity such as lifting may need more time off from work.

10 common question about corneal transplant recovery

1How long does it take to recover from a corneal transplant?
6 to 12 weeks Your vision may be blurry for a period of time after surgery. For some people, it may take 6 to 12 weeks to get the full benefits of surgery and to see as clearly as possible. Your doctor will give you eyedrops to help your eye heal and prevent your body from rejecting the donor tissue.
2What is the success rate of a corneal transplant?
But the Cornea Donor Study has concluded that corneas from people aged 34-71 are likely to remain healthy for most recipients after 10 years, with a success rate of 75 percent.
3Are you awake during a corneal transplant?
What Happens During a Corneal Transplant? You'll probably remain awake during the transplant, but you may receive a sedative to help you relax. Your surgeon will inject local anesthetic around the eye to prevent pain and to keep your eye muscles from moving. The surgery involves using a microscope.
4What can I expect after a partial corneal transplant?
Although quite cloudy immediately after DMEK, vision typically begins improving within 1 to 2 weeks after surgery. Patients can usually be fitted for glasses within 1 to 2 months (compared to 4 to 6 months after DSAEK and 12 to 18 months after a full thickness transplant).
5Can you go blind from a corneal transplant?
A corneal transplant involves replacing a diseased or scarred cornea with a new one. When the cornea becomes cloudy, light cannot penetrate the eye to reach the light sensitive retina. Poor vision or blindness may result.
6Is corneal transplant surgery painful?
During the procedure You won't be asleep during the surgery, but you shouldn't feel any pain. During the most common type of cornea transplant (penetrating keratoplasty), your surgeon cuts through the entire thickness of the abnormal or diseased cornea to remove a small button-sized disk of corneal tissue.
7How soon can I drive after a corneal transplant?
If you have good vision in the non-transplant eye, you can legally drive 24 hours after surgery. However, your surgeon may recommend waiting longer before driving.
8Can you wear eye makeup after a corneal transplant?
You shouldn't wear any make-up, including eye shadow, eye liner and mascara for a month after surgery. You must not rub your eye. ... For some types of corneal transplant they will advise that you always wear eye protection when playing.
9Why do cornea transplants fail?
Corneal Transplantation Failed. ... Failure can occur for a number of reasons, the most common one being endothelial decompensation, either due to graft rejection or "endothelial exhaustion," where enough of the endothelial cells die off and the cornea becomes edematous.
10Can a damaged cornea repair itself?
After minor injuries or scratches, the cornea usually heals on its own. Deeper injuries can cause corneal scarring, resulting in a haze on the cornea that impairs vision.

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