Corneal transplants, sometimes referred to as keratoplasty, penetrating keratoplasty (PK), or corneal grafts, is a surgical procedure to replace damaged corneal tissue using corneal tissue donated from an eye bank. Damage to corneas can occur for several reasons including injury, infection, and disease. Unhealthy corneas cause disturbances such as blurry or distorted vision, and in severe cases can leave a patient functionally blind.
Corneal transplants are considered routine procedures, and of all tissue transplants, corneal transplants are most successful. In the United States, over 40,000 cornea transplants are completed each year, according to the National Keratoconus Foundation. After cornea transplant surgeries, medically necessary contacts are typically required to achieve maximum visual clarity.
There are two major kinds of corneal transplant procedures:
- Penetrating (full-thickness) – all layers of the cornea are transplanted from the donor
- Lamellar – only selected layers (typically the deepest layers) are transplanted; includes Descemet’s Stripping Automated Endothelial Keratoplasty (DSAEK) or Descemet’s Membrane Endothelial Keratoplasty (DMEK)
Success Rates of Corneal Transplants
Since penetrating corneal transplants are more common, more is known about their long-term success rates. Research indicates that transplanted corneas last for at least ten years in:
- 89% of people with keratoconus
- 73% of people with Fuchs’ dystrophy
- 60-70% of people with corneal scarring
Medically Necessary Contact Lenses After Transplant Surgery
Although the transplanted corneas will instantly provide a clear visual window, they are often irregularly shaped and, thus, generally require that the patient wear medically-necessary contact lenses to correct the resulting vision conditions.
At Insight Complete Eye Care, we specialize in corneal conditions and are confident we can help you find the best solution for your unique eyes. We believe everyone deserves to have excellent vision, and we strive to achieve this with you.
If you have questions about contact lens options after corneal transplants or would like to schedule a consultation, please call or text our office at (214) 739-8611, and one of our staff will gladly assist you!