How long should one wait to fly after a corneal transplant?
During a corneal transplant an ophthalmologist places an air bubble into the eye to help the graft (donor eye tissue) adhere to the inner surface of the cornea. While this air bubble is in place, it is very dangerous to fly as the bubble can expand at higher altitudes. Depending on how much air is inserted, it may take between two days and two weeks for the bubble to reabsorb. Without question, you should not fly for any reason until your ophthalmologist has confirmed that the air bubble has dissipated.
After Corneal Transplant
What should I expect after my cornea transplant?
For the first few days after surgery, expect your eye to be red, irritated, and sensitive to light. Typically, pain can be controlled with over-the-counter pain relievers that your surgeon can recommend.
Your eye will be covered with an eye patch after your surgery. The eye patch must be worn when you shower and sleep. Your surgeon will also talk about activities you will need to avoid, especially any activities that could result in a direct hit to your eye. For endothelial transplants, you will need to position with your face up (on your back) for a few days after surgery.
You will have a follow-up visit with your surgeon, usually within 24 to 48 hours of your surgery. He or she will remove your eye patch and check on how well your eye is healing. Also, eye drops and ointments will be prescribed to help your eye heal. Eye drops and ointments usually prescribed are both antibiotics (to prevent infection) and corticosteroids (to reduce swelling, inflammation, and to prevent rejection).
Stitches may need to be removed depending on the type of stitches and surgical technique used. If stitches do need to be removed, they may not be removed for several months.
Your surgeon will recommend that you wear glasses or other protective eyewear for a period of time to help protect your eyes. While recovering, you should not rub or press on your eyes. Rubbing can cause damage and interfere with healing.
Once your cornea transplant is completed, you can expect to:
. Receive several medications. Eyedrops and, sometimes, oral medications immediately after cornea transplant and during recovery will help control infection, swelling and pain.
. Wear an eye patch. An eye patch may protect your eye as it heals after your surgery.
. Protect your eye from injury. Plan to take it easy after your cornea transplant, and slowly work your way up to your normal activities, including exercise. For the rest of your life, you'll need to take extra precautions to avoid harming your eye.
. Return for frequent follow-up exams. Expect frequent eye exams in which your doctor looks for complications in the first year after surgery.
What is the prognosis (outlook) for people who have a cornea transplant?
The degree of long-term success depends on a number of factors including the underlying cause of the cornea damage, surgical technique used, expertise of the surgeon, patient’s immune system acceptance of the donor transplant (organ rejection) and other factors. Because the rates vary so greatly, you should ask your doctor about the rate of success in your eye. It is important to keep in mind that vision is usually blurred after surgery and will gradually improve over time. The length of time it takes to return to good vision depends on several factors, including the type of surgery performed. It may take up to 12 months for full vision to be achieved in patients who undergo full thickness tissue transplant. For endothelial transplants (DMEK and DSAEK), good vision is typically achieved within 3 months.
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.
When should I call my surgeon?
Contact your surgeon immediately if you experience any signs of cornea rejection, including:
. Eye pain
. Eye redness
. Hazy or cloudy vision
. Sensitivity to light
10 common question about flying after corneal transplant
1What 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).
2How long will a corneal transplant last?
It's important to understand that the transplant will not last forever. How long it lasts depends on the reason for the transplant. For example, a transplant in a patient with keratoconus usually lasts 15 to 20 years.
3Can 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.
4Is corneal transplant permanent?
Most people who have a cornea transplant get at least part of their vision restored, but each situation is different. It could take a few weeks and up to a year for your vision to improve fully.
5Do corneal transplants last forever?
Some corneas do last forever, but some need to be replaced due to transplant rejection (which can occur even 20 years later) or due to simple failure of the transplant's new cells over time (depending on the age and health of the donor tissue, the “warranty” may just run out).
6Can 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.
7Can a damaged cornea be repaired?
With its ability for quick repair, the cornea usually heals after most injury or disease. However, when there is deep injury to the cornea, the healing process may be prolonged, possibly resulting in a variety of symptoms, including: Pain. Blurred vision.
8Are 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.
9Can corneal transplant change your eye color?
Your eye colour will not change after a corneal transplant.
Eye colour is determined by the part of the eye called the iris, which sits under the cornea. The cornea itself is clear, so replacing it won't change the colour of your eye.
10Can you go blind from keratoconus?
A: Keratoconus does not typically lead to complete blindness. But the disease can degrade vision to a level where one will experience difficulty leading a normal life. ... A: If someone has very mild keratoconus, then it is possible that they may not require glasses or contact lenses after receiving keratoconus treatment.