Corneal Transplant Surgery
A cornea transplant, also called keratoplasty, is a surgical procedure to replace part of your cornea with corneal tissue from a donor. Your cornea is the transparent, dome-shaped surface of your eye that accounts for a large part of your eye’s focusing power. A cornea transplant can restore vision, reduce pain and improve the appearance of a damaged or diseased cornea. Most cornea transplant procedures are successful. But cornea transplant carries a small risk of complications, such as rejection of the donor cornea.
Types of Cornea Transplants
The cornea contains five layers. Cornea transplants don’t always transfer all the layers.
Types of cornea transplants include:
Penetrating (full thickness) cornea transplant. This involves transplanting all the layers of the cornea from the donor.
Lamellar cornea transplant. During this procedure, the surgeon only replaces some of the layers of the cornea with the transplant.
In a lamellar cornea transplant, selected layers are transplanted, which can include the deepest layer, called the endothelium (posterior lamellar cornea transplant). Commonly performed versions of this procedure include Descemet’s Stripping Automated Endothelial Keratoplasty (DSAEK) or Descemet’s Membrane Endothelial Keratoplasty (DMEK).
Or it can include layers closer to the surface (anterior lamellar cornea transplant).
Lamellar transplants may be more appropriate than full penetrating transplants when the disease process is limited to only a portion of the cornea.