Corneal transplantation surgery; also known as keratoplasty, is the most frequently performed organ – tissue transplantation surgery in the world as it is in Turkey and in Istanbul. Not the whole globe but the only the thin, clear tissue located in the front part of the eye is transplanted at this surgery.
Diseased or damaged cornea becomes cloudy, swollen (edematous), or looses it’s perfect anatomic architecture because of thinning. In these situations light rays which pass through the cornea are affected and the vision can not be corrected with spectacles or contact lenses.
What are the indications for corneal transplant surgery?
After a detailed eye exam your doctor decides whether you will benefit from a corneal transplant surgery. If a decision for a keratoplasty surgery is made, corneal tissue will be ordered from national (Istanbul) or international eye banks (USA). Donated corneal tissues are evaluated by the eye banks for endothelial cell count, transparency, tissue quality and infectious diseases like hepatitis or HIV. Generally the surgery will be performed within five to ten days after your exam.
Surgery can be performed under local or general anaesthesia according to your age, health condition and concomittant eye diseases. This is an outpatient surgery and usually there is no need to stay in the hospital. You will be discharged after a couple hours of postoperative observation.
Surgical devices and equipment differ according to the type of surgery. In full thickness corneal transplants damaged or cloudy cornea is replaced with the donor cornea and the new cornea will be sutured to your eye. These sutures are removed according to the healing obtained within 6 – 12 months. Visual acuity is better even immediately after surgery, however best vision is achieved in 6 months to 1 year, after the removal of astigmatism causing sutures followed by the prescription of spectacles or contact lenses.
In this technique donated cornea is prepared manually, with microkeratome or with the hel of a laser. Then the customly preapred corneal tissue is transplanted to the eye without suture. A little air bubble is than used for the fixation of the graft. Vision is restored much earlier compared to a full thickness corneal graft. Estimated best corrected visual acuity is reached within a week. Eyedrops are prescribed and advised to be used for preventing rejection and infection after the surgery.
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