What Is a Cornea Transplant Used to Treat?


Quick Answer

Doctors use cornea transplants to treat vision loss due to scarring or disease. During the procedure, the surgeon replaces the damaged outer lens of the eye using tissue of a recently deceased individual. According to MedlinePlus, cornea transplants are one of the most common transplants surgeons perform.

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Full Answer

The cornea is responsible for much of the focusing of an individual's vision. Scarring or cloudiness of the tissue reduces the individual's vision. The transplant helps to restore vision, improve the appearance of the eye and reduce pain associated with a damaged cornea, according to the Mayo Clinic.

When replacing the cornea, surgeons have the option of a full-thickness transplant or transplanting selected layers. The full-thickness transplant is the older procedure and the one for which doctors have the best data concerning success rates. Using full-thickness transplants, between 60 and 89 percent of transplants continue to function properly 10 years after the procedure. The reason for the transplant affects the likelihood that the transplant continues to function, according to WebMD.

The greatest risk of cornea transplants is the patient's body rejecting the donated tissue, according to MedlinePlus. Other risks include bleeding, infection, cataracts, glaucoma and loss of vision. Patients should talk with their doctor concerning risks and benefits of the procedure.

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