Corneal transplants are one of medicine’s most successful transplant operations. The procedure involves removing the cornea from a donor eye and transplanting it to a recipient eye that has a defective cornea.
For many individuals, a corneal transplant may be the only hope for restored vision, and may be necessary when the cornea is cloudy or damaged due to disease, injury, accident, or hereditary conditions such as keratoconus (see Eye Conditions A-Z). In these situations, the cornea must be removed and replaced with healthy donor tissue.
The operation is done under general anaesthetic as a day case procedure.
The procedure is successful in 90 percent of cases but visual recovery is slow and can take up to 12-18 months. The result is often enhanced using Laser Refractive Surgery or LASIK.
South Africa is currently experiencing a desperate shortage of donor corneas resulting in long waiting times for those in need of a transplant. If you or any of your friends or relatives would like to become a donor please contact the Eyebank Foundation of South Africa www.eyebank.org.za