At Orange Coast Eye Center, we perform corneal transplants when your corneas have become defective and are no longer allowing light to enter your eyes. Our Tustin ophthalmologist is highly experienced in doing this surgical procedure, so you can feel confident that you are receiving the best of care. Your cornea is clear and at the front of your eye. It lets light pass through eventually to your lens. Proper vision is dependent on having a well functioning cornea.
There are several reasons why your corneas may need to be replaced by our Tustin ophthalmologist. One is keratoconus, which is a degenerative disease that affects the cornea and causes it to thin and lose its proper shape. Other possible causes for a poorly functioning cornea are trauma or infection that can lead to scarring of the cornea, and conditions such as lattice dystrophy and Fuchs’ dystrophy, which are inherited.
Corneal transplants can be full or partial. The full one, called a penetrating transplant, replaces all five layers of the cornea, but it is not always necessary. In some cases, a lamellar transplant may be performed, in which only some of the layers are replaced. Our Tustin ophthalmologist will be able to discuss these options with you and determine which is best for your situation. Most times, the procedure can be done under local anesthetic to numb your eye and prevent it from moving, so you will be awake during the surgery. Using a trephine, a special instrument for cutting, your cornea will be removed from the front of your eye. The corneal transplant is then placed and sewn into position. Very thin stitches are used and a microscope is utilized to perform the procedure.
The success rate of corneal transplants varies depending on the reason for the surgery being necessary, but overall is impressive. Those with keratoconus have a success rate of 89%; patients with Fuchs’ dystrophy 73%; and those with corneal scarring see a rate of between 60-70%. These numbers refer to a cornea transplant lasting for at least 10 years. There is about a 20% of transplant reject for all patients. Our Tustin ophthalmologist will go over all of the important details with you and ensure that you are fully prepared for your surgery and recovery.