Corneal Surgery in Long Island
More than 33,000 Americans undergo corneal transplant surgery each year according to the National Eye Institute (NEI). Also referred to as penetrating keratoplasty (PKP), corneal transplant surgery is a relatively common procedure that involves the replacement of a portion of damaged or diseased cornea with a healthy donor.
At TOC Eye®, our team of experienced professional ophthalmologist are equipped to cater to all aspects of corneal surgery, including the diagnosis and treatment of corneal conditions, in addition to the evaluation of transplant alternatives.
When is Corneal Transplant Surgery Appropriate?
The cornea is the transparent, dome-shaped tissue that covers the front of your eye. It plays an essential role in vision — light entering your eye is bent by the curvature of the cornea which is responsible for your focal vision — and serves as a barrier against dirt, germs and other foreign bodies capable of damaging eye health.
If your cornea becomes damaged by injury, disease or infection, it could cause vision problems ranging from minor irritation to severe visual distortion and potential blindness. If your cornea’s ability to properly refract light is affected to the extent that your vision is compromised, corneal transplant surgery might be required.
The Corneal Transplant Procedure – What’s Involved?
There are two basic types of corneal transplant surgery: Penetrating cornea transplant and lamellar cornea transplant.
A penetrating transplant involves the removal of all five layers of the cornea, whereas a lamellar transplant only targets certain layers of the cornea for removal. Our experienced eye health professionals will work with you through consultation and diagnosis to determine the cause of your cornea trauma and the appropriate transplant solution to restore your damaged vision.
Whether your situation requires a lamellar or penetrating transplant, the basic procedure is the same.
Your transplant can be performed under local anesthetic, meaning that you remain awake throughout. (A general anesthetic option can considered if you are nervous about the surgery).
Once anesthetized, your TOC Eye® surgeon will use a cutting device called a trephine to remove the damaged corneal tissue. Donor tissue — sourced from an eye bank — will then be sized and attached in its place using ultra-thin sutures. These sutures may be left in place for three months up to a year. (In some instances, they may even be left in place permanently.) The sutures cause no pain and are not detectable in any way. Removal or adjustment of the sutures is an incredibly simple, pain-free process that can be done in an ophthalmologist’s office.
The success rate of corneal transplant surgery is very good, but can fluctuate depending on the specifics of your treatment. For example, if your transplant is to correct keratoconus (bulging of the cornea), the success rate is typically higher.
During your corneal transplant consultation, we will answer all your questions about the treatment, including any risks or side effects you may experience, the cost of treatment and any viable alternatives.
Corneal Transplant Recovery
Recovery from transplant surgery can be a slow process. After surgery, we will prescribe you eye drops and medication to help manage any lingering discomfort, promote healing and protect against infection. You will be advised to avoid certain activities that could put you at risk of injuring your eye, and will be provided with a protective eye patch.
Your eye is what we call “immunologically privileged” meaning that the donor cornea tissue does not need to be a “match” to your specific blood type or genetics. As such, rejection of the donor tissue only occurs in a small percentage of cases.
Throughout your recovery we will have you back for frequent checkups to ensure that you are progressing well. Full recovery should be expected six to 12 months after surgery, at which time we may fit you with eyeglasses or contact lenses.
Take the First Step to Better Vision
Call us today at 631-751-2020 or contact us via our web form to learn more about corneal transplant surgery at TOC Eye®.