Keratoplasty Can Repair Damaged Corneas for Clearer Vision
Why Perform Keratoplasty?
Your cornea makes up the outer layer of your eye. This clear tissue is responsible for refracting, or bending, light as it enters the eye. If you have a healthy, functioning cornea, light will hit the center of your retina. However, if you have a compromised cornea, light will focus elsewhere in your eye, and your vision will be blurred or distorted.
Keratoplasty is an advanced surgical treatment. Dr. Holzman will remove your natural diseased or damaged cornea, replacing it with healthy donor tissue.
Corneal damage can happen in several ways. It may occur because of an illness or an injury, such as abrasion. Resulting scar tissue will block light as it enters your eye. You could also suffer from keratoconus. This degenerative condition will cause your cornea to change shape so that it becomes conical, rather than rounded. Keratoplasty is an advanced surgical treatment. Dr. Holzman will remove your natural diseased or damaged cornea, replacing it with healthy donor tissue.
Prior to your corneal transplant, Dr. Holzman will numb your eye and provide additional sedation. As a result, you should feel almost nothing, and you will remain relaxed throughout your procedure. Then he will perform one of several techniques, depending on the type of corneal damage that you have experienced. In some cases, he may need to replace your entire cornea. To do so, he will remove a circular button of corneal tissue through a tiny incision and replace it with donor tissue. He will then place incredibly small sutures, which may remain in place for up to a year after your surgery.
In other cases, Dr. Holzman may only need to replace a few layers of corneal tissue. To remove interior layers, he will create incisions in the side of your eye. Then he will graft on new tissue in a procedure similar to that described above. In still other situations, he may remove the outer layers of your cornea in a procedure known as a surface lamellar transplant.
Candidates for Keratoplasty
You may be a candidate for keratoplasty if you suffer from any of the following problems:
- Advanced keratoconus
- Scarring from eye infection or disease
- Scarring from eye injury
- Scarring from trichiasis, in which the eyelashes grow inwardly
- Chemical burns
- Complications from LASIK surgery (very rare)
- Complications from cataract surgery (also rare)
Keratoplasty is a complex procedure. Therefore, Dr. Holzman will usually recommend this treatment only after you have tried more conservative options, such as corneal cross-linking.
Benefits of Keratoplasty
After a corneal transplant, you could enjoy clearer, less distorted vision. Immediately after surgery, however, you may have significantly blurred eyesight, and it may not stabilize for up to a year. Additionally, your new cornea will not be a perfect match to the curvature of your eye, so you will have some degree of nearsightedness and/or astigmatism. Nonetheless, standard glasses or contact lenses are usually enough to correct these problems. In some cases, you can even receive LASIK once you have healed from keratoplasty. This second procedure can reduce or even eliminate your need for corrective lenses.
If you previously had severely compromised eyesight, a cornea transplant can dramatically improve and restore your lifestyle. You will be able to enjoy a much wider range of activities, and you can see loved ones’ faces and the world around you. You may also have a greater degree of independence, since you will usually be able to drive and go about your normal routine.
Dr. Holzman is a member of the Cornea Society and one of the most highly educated and trained eye surgeons in the country. If are suffering from corneal damage, keratoconus, or a similar problem, contact our office to find out if a corneal transplant is right for you.