Surgeons perform corneal lens implant procedures when your cornea becomes damaged, either from an injury, sickness, or disease. Oftentimes the procedure helps to restore or improve your vision and most have favorable outcomes and high success rates. The procedure itself is a quick outpatient procedure.
Your cornea is the dome-shaped, clear surface over your eye. It works with your eyelid and eye socket to protect your eyes from things like germs, dust, and other foreign objects. It also allows light to enter your eye.
Why You May Need a Corneal Lens Transplant
If you injured your cornea recently or you have poor vision, you may benefit from this type of procedure. This type of transplant may also treat the following conditions and diseases affecting your eyes:
• Fuchs’ Dystrophy
• A Bulging Cornea
• Thinning Cornea
• Cornea Swelling, Clouding, or Scarring
• Corneal Ulcers
Preparing for a Corneal Lens Transplant
The first step to preparing for a corneal transplant is to undergo a thorough eye exam. This will ensure you’re a good candidate for the procedure and will allow your doctor the chance to take measurements of your eye and treat other issues that may impact the success of your surgery. During this time, it’s important to let your doctor know if you’re taking medications or have any medical conditions. Depending on the medications you’re taking, you may have to stop taking them during the weeks leading up to the procedure.
The day before your transplant, your doctor may give you the following instructions:
- Begin fasting from food and drinks after midnight the night before
- Wear comfortable clothing on the day of the procedure
- Avoid wearing makeup, lotions, and jewelry
- Arrange transportation home after your procedure
During the Procedure
Typically, your doctor will keep your awake during the transplant, though he or she may give you a sedative to help keep you calm and relaxed. Additionally, your doctor will inject a local anesthetic to the area around your eye that not only helps dull the pain, but also keeps your eye muscles still. Once your prepped and ready to go, your doctor will use a microscope and small cutting instruments to remove a small piece of your cornea. From there, he or she will position a new cornea in place and sew it in with a special thread. Altogether, most transplant procedures only last an hour or two. Once completed, you’ll rest for another hour or two in a recovery room.
Risk after Corneal Lens Transplant
Corneal lens transplants are outpatient procedures, meaning you will return home the same day as your procedure. During your recovery, you will likely experience soreness around your eye, and may even have to wear an eye patch for up to a week after the procedure to protect it. You may also receive medications and eye drops to help speed the recovery process.
However, while most transplants go off without a hitch, there are certain signs of complications to look for as you recover. For example, if you experience any of the following, contact your doctor right away:
• Chest Pain
Additionally, there are certain risks that may arise during the recovery process, including:
• Vision Cloudiness
Prognosis after Corneal Lens Transplant
Fortunately, most corneal lens transplants are safe and rarely result in complications. If you follow your instructions from your doctor, your prognosis is good. Most patients end up making a full recovery within a year, sometimes sooner.