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.
SOME QUESTIONS FOR CORNEAL TRANSPLANT RECOVERY
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.
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.
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.