Can a corneal transplant treat corneal scarring? The short answer is yes. Before we explain how though, a word to the wise: take care of your cornea!
A clear, healthy cornea is needed for good vision. Even a simple scratch can affect our ability to see clearly. Don’t ever wait to see an ophthalmologist if your cornea is damaged in any way. Contact us as soon as possible at 210-692-1388.
The Importance Of The Cornea
The cornea is the clear outside surface of the eye. How well you see depends on the shape of the cornea and exactly where light passing through the cornea touches on the retina. It determines focus and how clearly you see.
Even more important, if the cornea is diseased, damaged, misshapen, swollen or scarred you end up with distorted vision or a haze. Light is scattered, causing glare and blurriness. In most of these cases, glasses and contacts will not correct the problem so a corneal transplant may be necessary.
Some common symptoms of a damaged cornea include:
- Sensitivity to light
- Reduced and blurred vision
- Inflammation and redness
- Headaches, nausea and fatigue
Common Causes Of Corneal Scarring
There are a number of situations that lead to corneal scarring. Scarring can occur from infections like eye herpes or fungal keratitis. Sometimes eye lashes grow inward and rub the cornea. Over time this can irritate and cause scarring.
Chemical burns, general eye infections not treated appropriately, trauma and rare LASIK complications can result in corneal scarring.
Sometimes the only treatment is a corneal transplant.
PKP – Corneal Transplant
PKP or Penetrating Keratoplasty is a surgical procedure to remove diseased or scarred corneal tissue and replace it with healthy tissue from a donor.
This is accomplished using a femtosecond laser to remove a circular, button-shaped, full-thickness-section of tissue. The surgeon then replaces it with a matching button of tissue from the donor, securing it with sutures.
A Penetrating Keratoplasty takes approximately one to two hours and usually it is performed as an outpatient procedure.
Afterward, patients may be nearsighted, needing glasses or gas permeable contact lenses. Sometimes astigmatism occurs.
Recovery From A Corneal Transplant
Recovery time can take anywhere from six months to a year. It is a slow process, and there is a lifelong risk of rejection but results are usually quite reliable. Patients experience blurred vision for the first few months as the cornea heals and accepts the new tissue. Steroid drops will aid in this healing process.
As vision improves, patients can return to work and normal activities. Stitches are removed as healing progresses. To learn more about whether you need eye transplants, watch this video.
Choose doctors with training and experience in corneal transplant
surgery like those at South Texas Eye Institute.
Call us 210.692.1388 for more information
about corneal transplants to treat corneal scarring