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A corneal transplant is an operation in which a patient receives the cornea of a dead donor. The cornea forms the outer layer of the eye and makes an important contribution to vision. Clouding, as occurs after severe corneal inflammation or injury or morbid bulges can therefore lead to vision loss. To restore the function of the eye, the patient requires a corneal transplant.
If the ophthalmologist has discovered the need for a corneal transplant, a matching graft will be sought in a so-called eye bank of the eye clinics. But not everyone can be transplanted immediately, the demand exceeds the supply significantly. The actual surgery is done either in local anesthesia or under general anesthesia.
Even with a cornea transplantation there is a risk of a rejection reaction when the immune system fights the foreign tissue. This can lead to renewed cloudiness and vision loss. Medications can prevent this reaction.
The operation can be performed in the hospital or on an outpatient basis. The surgical procedure is relatively simple: First, the doctor cuts the cloudy spot out of the patient's cornea. Then he punches out a matching disc from the donor cornea, places it in the gap and sutures it. In most cases, not the entire cornea but only the central part is transmitted around the pupil.
Basically, the procedure can be performed under local anesthesia, but most ophthalmologists recommend general anesthesia because it reduces the risk of sudden eye movements. The threads are pulled only after twelve to 18 months, since the wounds in cornea transplants heal very slowly.
If there was no inflammation on the eye before, the new cornea heals without pain after surgery. However, if the eye was severely inflamed, there may still be pain in the course of time, but it may eventually disappear with painkillers.