what to expect after corneal transplant

what to expect after corneal transplant

what to expect after corneal transplant?

   When You're in the Hospital

You had a corneal transplant. There are two ways to do this.

  • In one (penetrating or PK), most of the tissue of your cornea (the clear surface on the front of your eye) was replaced with tissue from a donor. During your surgery, a small round piece of your cornea was taken out. Then the donated cornea was sewn onto the opening of your eye.
  • In the other (lamellar or DSEK) only the inner layers of the cornea are transplanted. Recovery is often faster with this method.

Numbing medicine was injected into the area around your eye so you did not feel any pain during surgery. You may have taken a sedative to help you relax.

iranian surgeryWhat to Expect at Home

If you had a PK, the first stage of healing will take about 3 weeks. After this, you will likely need contact lenses or glasses. These may need to be changed or adjusted several times in the first year after your transplant.

If you had a DSEK, visual recovery is often quicker and you may even be able to use your old glasses.



DO NOT touch or rub your eye.

If you had a PK, your health care provider probably put a patch over your eye at the end of surgery. You can remove this patch the next morning but you will probably have an eye shield for sleeping. This protects the new cornea from injury. During the day, you will probably need to wear dark sunglasses.

If you had a DSEK, you probably won't have a patch or shield after the first day. Sunglasses will still be helpful.

You should not drive, operate machinery, drink alcohol, or make any major decisions for at least 24 hours after surgery. The sedative will take this long to fully wear off. Before it does, it may make you very sleepy and unable to think clearly.

Limit activities that could make you fall or increase pressure on your eye, such as climbing a ladder or dancing. Avoid heavy lifting. Try not to do things that place your head lower than the rest of your body. It may help to sleep with your upper body elevated by a couple pillows. Stay away from dust and blowing sand.

Follow your provider's instructions for using eye drops carefully. The drops help prevent infection. They also help prevent your body from rejecting your new cornea.

Follow up with your provider as directed. You may need to have stitches removed, and your provider will want to check your healing and eyesight.

When to Call the Doctor

Call your provider if you have:

  • Decreased vision
  • Flashes of light or floaters in your eye
  • Light sensitivity (sunlight or bright lights hurt your eye)
  • More redness in your eye
  • Eye pain

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.

After your transplant

The day after your corneal transplant surgery, you will need to go back to your ophthalmologist’s office to have your eyes checked.

The stitches from surgery may or may not need to be removed. This depends on how quickly you heal, the health of your eye, and the type of stitches used.

As you recover from surgery, these are things you need to do to care for your eye:

  • Use the eye drops exactly as the ophthalmologist prescribed.
  • Do not press on or rub your eye.
  • If needed, take over-the-counter pain medicine. Ask your doctor which ones you can take.
  • Wear eyeglasses or an eye shield to protect your eyes.
  • Talk with your ophthalmologist about when you can get back to doing your normal daily routine.

Call your ophthalmologist if you have concerns or questions about how to care for yourself at home.

Depending on the type of transplant you had and how your eye heals, it can take a year or more to fully recover from this surgery.

You Play the Largest Role in Your Recovery

The best way to avoid problems after corneal transplantation is to follow all of your doctor's advice, including using all medications as recommended and keeping all follow-up appointments.

At these appointments, the doctor will check your vision in the eye with the transplant. It is not unusual for that eye to have vision that is very different from the other eye. This difference can be very disturbing, but eyeglasses or contact lenses can improve the situation. Vision can change rapidly after corneal transplantation, so it is necessary to visit the eye doctor more often than usual.

You should be aware that in a small number of cases, the new corneal tissue is rejected by the body even though the operation was successful and all medications were taken correctly.

Your doctors cannot predict exactly how your body will respond to a transplant. It is never fully known how the condition that caused your organ disease will affect your new, transplanted organ. The operation itself is complex and the risks remain high for many patients. After the transplant, you may still need to have  biopsies, surgeries, other procedures, or readmissions to the hospital.


10 common question about what to expect after corneal transplant

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 are the symptoms of corneal transplant rejection?
Graft rejection is characterized by one or more of these patient symptoms: redness, pain, photophobia and decreased vision.
3What 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).
4What can you do after a corneal transplant?
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
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.
6What happens if a corneal transplant fails?
Complications of a corneal transplant can be significant and can include cornea graft rejection, eye infection and problems associated with the use of stitches. Rejection of the donor tissue is the most serious complication after a corneal transplant and occurs in 5 to 30 percent of patients.
7Why 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.
8How many corneal transplants can you have?
How often are cornea transplants performed? Currently, ophthalmologists perform more than 47,000 corneal transplants in the U.S. every year.
9Can a living person donate a cornea?
For the most part, corneal donation comes from people who are dead. In very rare circumstances, a donor may be living. ... If an eye is blind and it is removed, but is healthy in the front, that cornea might also be used. There are no instances of donation between people who are living in other circumstances.
10Can 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


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