Corneal Transplant

Corneal Transplant

Corneal Transplant in India - Causes and Surgery Cost

A corneal transplant (keratoplasty) is a surgical procedure to which replaces a part of your cornea with corneal tissue obtained from a donor. 

The cornea is the clear, dome-shaped surface of the front of the eye which allows light to pass into the eye and provides focus to see images clearly. Various diseases or injury can make the cornea either cloudy or change its shape. This prevents the normal passage of light into the eye and strongly affects the vision.

Causes of Corneal Transplant

When a person's cornea is damaged beyond repair, a cornea transplant is the treatment of choice for restoring their eyesight. A cornea transplant may also alleviate discomfort and other indications and symptoms linked with corneal disorders. A cornea transplant is an effective treatment for a variety of disorders, including the following:

  • A cornea that protrudes outwardly from the eye.
  • A cornea that has become thinner or is tearing.
  • An increase in the size of the cornea. Fuchs' dystrophy is a genetic disorder that runs in families.
  • Corneal scarring may be caused by an infection or an accident.
  • Complications resulting from a prior eye operation.
  • Ulceration of the cornea that does not heal despite medical therapy.

When is a Corneal Transplant needed?

A corneal implant is usually carried out to fix a damaged cornea and to restore vision. However, there are other medical conditions which can impair your cornea but can be fixed by a corneal transplant.

A corneal transplant may be usually needed when:

  • A cornea bulging outwards (keratoconus)
  • Fuchs' dystrophy
  • Cornea layer thinning
  • An infection or injury causing corneal scarring
  • Clouding of the cornea area
  • Swelling of the cornea
  • Corneal ulcers.
  • Previous eye surgery complications affecting the cornea.

Corneal Transplant Surgery

Surgery Choices for the Replacement of a Corneal Transparent Film or corneal surgery are as follows:

Transplantation of the whole cornea

If both the outermost and the innermost layers of your cornea are destroyed, you may need to have your whole cornea replaced. Penetrating keratoplasty (PK) is the medical term for a corneal transplant that penetrates the whole cornea. The cornea that is damaged or infected is surgically removed. Finally, the donor cornea is stitched into place. Compared to other corneal transplant procedures, PK requires more time for recovery. The recovery time for full eyesight following PK might be as long as a year.

Corneal rejection is more likely after a PK compared to other corneal transplant procedures. At this point, the new corneal tissue is being attacked by the body's immune system.

This procedure is called endothelial keratoplasty

The endothelium is the most internal lining of the cornea, which may get damaged in various eye disorders. As a result, your cornea will enlarge, and your eyesight will worsen. Surgery called endothelial keratoplasty removes the damaged layer of the cornea and replaces it with normal tissue from a donor. Partial transplantation is a procedure in which just the innermost layer of tissue is transplanted.

Transplantation of a cornea with a thinner layer of tissue

At times, the cornea's superficial and intermediate layers might be compromised. In this scenario, we're merely peeling back those specific layers. The thin rear layer, or endothelium, is maintained. Deep anterior lamellar keratoplasty, also known as partial thickness corneal transplantation, is the name given to this kind of transplant. The corneal condition known as keratoconus is often treated with DALK. The DALK recovery period is much shorter than a complete corneal transplant. Getting the replacement cornea rejected is also less likely to happen.

What happens during the Corneal Transplant?

The entire corneal transplant procedure takes around one to two hours. Before the surgery, you would be given a sedative to help you relax. To prevent pain during the corneal transplant but to still keep your eye muscles moving, a local anaesthetic around the eye is injected. 
The corneal transplant employs a microscope during the surgery. Your eye surgeon would remove a small, round piece of your cornea with a cutting instrument called a trephine. After this incision, a new cornea obtained from the donor would be placed, cut to fit, and will be sewn it in with a thread that would be present in your eye till it heals. This thread would be removed later.

After the Corneal Transplant Procedure

Once the new Cornea from the donor is implanted into the eye, as a patient you would be expected to:

  • Get prescribed some medications: These include eye drops, oral medications immediately after cornea transplant to avoid infection, swelling and pain.
  • Wear an eye mask, to protect the eye and heal it after the transplant.
  • Avoid injury to your eye, by not taking on to physical activities like exercise immediately after the surgery, and by being in a clean environment.
  • Return for frequent eye checkups so that the doctor can keep a track of your recovery.

However, you should seek medical attention immediately if you experience any of these symptoms:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Coughing
  • Chest pain
  • A fever
  • Chills
  • Nausea

Corneal Transplant Risks and Side Effects

The Corneal Transplant Surgery is a very safe procedure with a high success rate. However, there are certain mild risks that may include:

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Swelling
  • Clouding of the lens (cataract)
  • Increased pressure in the eyeball (glaucoma)

What risks are there if you have a cornea transplant?

Rejection of the transplanted organ (in this case, the cornea) is a significant cause for worry. Rejection occurs when the recipient's immune system rejects the donor cornea because it sees it as alien. After surgery, you'll need to use anti-rejection eye drops for as least a year.
However, the likelihood of rejection varies depending on the kind of surgery performed and the patient's current eye health. The likelihood of rejection rises in conditions such as dry eye, corneal blood vessel growth, and eye infection. Surgeons may advise against surgery if your eye has a significant rejection risk after a transplant. You should see your eye specialist learn how your specific eye condition influences your rejection odds. The following are some additional risks associated with cornea transplantation:

  • Infection is either on the cornea's surface or deeper within the eye.
  • Glaucoma
  • Bleeding
  • Your cornea is leaking fluid.
  • Caused by the cornea's abnormal curvature, this condition impairs visual acuity.
  • A retinal tear
  • Cornea transplants are long-lastingly effective for the vast majority of recipients. Your surgeon can assist if you're not sure if a cornea transplant is the best option for you.
  • Failure of a corneal transplant due to detachment.

Corneal Rejection after Transplantation

Rejection of a given cornea is a further potential problem. In some instances, the replacement cornea may be rejected by the body because it is recognized as foreign tissue. Symptoms of rejection might appear anywhere from a few months to years after surgery. Refusal of a cornea transplant is usually treatable, and prompt treatment has the potential to prevent permanent damage to the cornea's ability to function after a transplant.

Discuss the potential dangers of a cornea transplant with your eye doctor. Many variables, such as age, past health disorders, other visual problems, and the underlying cause for the cornea transplant, contribute to the individual's unique probability of complications. Adhering to post-operative medical recommendations is crucial to reducing the risk of transplant rejection.

Is there a time frame for my full recovery?

Typically, you'd be able to return home the next day. The medical staff will provide you with eye drops and maybe other medicines to take home with you. Before consulting with your doctor, avoid strenuous activities like swimming and lifting heavy objects. Get the okay from the doctor or healthcare team before beginning an exercise regimen. Maintaining an exercise routine should hasten your recovery so that you can return to your routine.

The prognosis for most individuals is excellent. Your eyesight may become better after 2 years. Possible corneal reshaping surgery. The transplant team will schedule follow-up visits to ensure a successful healing process and monitor for rejection.

What is the Prognosis for the Long Term?

Your eyes may experience a temporary decline in vision while they acclimatize to the new environment. Your eye doctor has probably recommended that you keep up with routine checkups. After you have fully recovered from the Corneal transplant for the eye, your doctor will cut the suture. You'll need to take additional measures if you want to keep your eyes safe when working out or playing sports.

Most individuals will have some degree of visual acuity restored. However, some may still need corrective lenses. Although complete healing might take up to one year, this period is becoming shorter as treatment methods improve.

Corneal Transplant in India

Indian ophthalmologists have treated many patients worldwide. Patients choose India for their treatment because of modern techniques, qualified specialists and affordable cost. The corneal transplant cost in India is lower than other developed countries with no compromise in quality. 

Recommended doctors for Corneal Transplant in India

CureIndia helps you choose the right doctor for your medical treatment. Most of the doctors in our associated hospitals have been internationally trained and are active members of many international medical councils and associations.

Let's hear from some of the most reputed dcotor's for Corneal treatment in India.

1) Dr. Suraj Munjal

Dr. Suraj Munjal-Best Eye Doctor

2) Dr. Smriti Jain

Dr. Smriti Jain

3) Dr. Suwarn Chetan

Dr. Suwarn Chetan-Eye Doctor

Corneal Transplant Cost

The required hospitalization period is 1 day, followed by 3 days of patient independence. The final price tag will be established when the patient has received a diagnosis and decided which treatment options and facilities they want to use. How much it will cost to replace an eye in India might vary. The final surgery cost will depend on the individual patient's health and treatment requirements.

The final price tag for your operation may depend on the following variables:

  • Eye transplant surgery in India might vary in price depending on several factors, including the patient's location and whether or not they opted for private or public hospital care.
  • Two major factors to consider while choosing a hospital are the surgeons' credentials and the length of time you'll be there at the hospital. More money will need to be spent if the patient ends up being in the hospital for longer. However, most patients who undergo eye transplant surgery spend little more than 24 hours in the hospital.
  • Place of residence of the patient. Surgery prices may differ from one location to the next.
  • Costs associated with your eye transplant surgery may be reduced if you have health insurance that covers a portion of the procedure.
  • Amount of recommended pills and eye drops.

Bottom Line

After a successful corneal transplant, most patients have had excellent eyesight for many years. It might take a year or more for complete vision restoration. This is because the swelling will take some time to diminish. You may still suffer vision loss from your other eye diseases. To see clearly, you may require corrective lenses. After the eye transplant has wholly healed, laser vision correction might be possible for those with nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism.

Corneal Transplant Surgery FAQs

What is the expected lifespan of a corneal transplant?

A corneal transplant done by an expert ophthalmologist, has a 10-year survival rate or higher without significant rejection or other problems. Nevertheless, regular eye exams are necessary to maintain healthy eyes and clear vision.

How effective is corneal transplantation, generally speaking?

Transplanting a healthy cornea has an astoundingly high success rate of about 95%. The fact that human corneal cells are one of the few that can be transplanted with a low risk of rejection helps explain such a remarkable number.

Just how uncomfortable is a corneal transplant?

Exactly how agonizing are cornea transplants? The actual cornea transplant operation causes minimal discomfort. If you are nervous about the transplant, your doctor may prescribe you a local anesthetic or a sedative in addition to the local anesthetic he uses to numb your eye.

To what extent is repeated corneal transplantation safe?

Doing a corneal transplant more than once with satisfactory outcomes are possible, rejection rates are somewhat more excellent after subsequent transplants than the first transplant.