A cornea is an outer transparent part of a human eye protecting the pupil, iris and interior eye. The damage of the cornea cause significant discomfort and can lead to serious vision treating conditions. Diseases of the cornea are fourth common reason resulting in vision loss. In cases, when damaged cornea cannot be restored or healed and it is not possible to protect the eye with lenses you may need a corneal transplant. In Germany, the Eye Clinic of Braunschweig, you can have safe keratoplasty (the name origins from Greek kerato-, which means "horny" ), which is a surgery to replace damaged cornea with donated graft.
Not all of corneal diseases may lead to corneal transplant. In Germany qualified ophthalmologists make their best to preserve patient’s cornea. Among the conditions that require corneal graft, you may find:
- Keratoconus, which is a specific corneal disease
- Funch’s dystrophya and some other congenital conditions
- Scars due to injuries and disease
- Complications of eye surgeries as LASIK or cataract operations
First, you doctor will carry out complex diagnosis of your eye and evaluate, whether you can avoid corneal transplantation, and after this you should prepare to surgery.
How You Can Know You Have Corneal Diseas?
Symptoms of corneal diseases are unspecific so only your doctor can say if you have a corneal disease. Among them you will find:
- Pain in your eye
- Eye becomes sensitive to light
- Blurred vision
Those symptoms can be associated with many of eye diseases, so you will definitely need examination.
Types of Keratoplasty
Based on extent, corneal transplant surgeries may be splitted into the categories:
- Penetrating (total) keratoplasty
- Lamellar (partial) keratoplasty
- Deep anterior lamellar keratoplasty (replacement of the front part of the cornea)
- Endothelial keratoplasty (replacement of the inner layer of the cornea)
Corneal tissues for transplantation are taken from eye banks, where donor’s corneas are stored.
The surgery lasts up to 2 hours. It is under local or – rarely – general anesthesia. An ophthalmologist uses a microscope to perform the procedure. He/ she cuts a circular piece of patient’s cornea and then do the same on a donor’s eye. The doctor puts donor’s cornea into place, fits it and sew.
Lamellar keratoplasty involeves additional actions. With endothelial keratoplasty, the doctor makes a tiny incision and places a thin layer of the cornea on the back of your cornea and than positions it using an air bubble. This type of corneal graft does not need any sutures; the incision will cure itself.
Corneal Transplant Recovery
There is a risk of rejecting of the cornea but it is quite rare. Corneal transplants has tremendously high rate of success but it heals not very fast. You will need a year for complete recovery.
- You may stay in hospital for a night or may not. Your condition will not require it.
- You will be given a protective shield for your eye. You should keep it at least 24 hours.
- You will not have much pain.
- Your sight may be blurred. It is normal condition after corneal transplant.
- You could not drive before your doctor will permit you.
You have to visit a doctor next day. You will be given some advises how to live after corneal transplant for period of time.
Healing after Corneal Transplant
Keeping some simple rule will help you to avoid complications and ensure successful healing process.
- Do not rub your eyes
- Use eye drops prescribed with your doctor
- You may be also prescribed some medications to avoid inflammation
- Do not be involved into any strenuous activity at least for 2-3 weeks. If your job is related to physical work you should wait for 2-4 months before you can return to work.
- You may shower but you should protect your eye from water
- You may have blurred vision for a few months after surgery
- Do not expose yourself to dust and smoke
- Do not swim and do contact sports before your doctor will allow
You should visit your doctor on regular base for monitoring according to the schedule recommended in the clinic. The stitches will remain in your eye and will be removed only after complete curing. If you have any signs of complications as following, contact your doctor immediately:
- Increasing redness
- Light sensitivity
- Reduction of vision
That could be the signs of rejection. Among the other complications you can find:
- Increased intraocular pressure
Have Corneal Transplant in Germany
In the Eye Clinic of Braunschweig, Germany we have all necessary equipment for advanced diagnostics and three experienced operating ophthalmologists under the head of Professor Dr. Ulrich Weber. Being the teaching hospital of the Hannover Medical School, we apply only the newest technologies and have been developing continuously. Apply to corneal transplant in Clinic of Braunschweig to have safe treatment.