Cornea transplants can treat or cure many types of blinding eye diseases or injuries aff ecting the cornea, the clear, outer covering of the eye. Cornea transplants can only be performed by an ophthalmologist who is a cornea or ophthalmic surgeon. Here is what a patient might expect if a cornea transplant is required to restore one’s eyesight.
Cornea transplant surgery may be performed under general or local anesthesia. The patient’s face is cleansed/prepped and covered with sterile cloths. The surgeon performs the operation, which usually lasts between one and two hours, looking through a high-powered surgical microscope. During the surgery, the surgeon removes the patient’s damaged cornea and replaces it with the clear, donor cornea. The donor cornea is then sewn into place with stitches (sutures) that are approximately one-third the thickness of a human hair.
After surgery, the patient’s eye is patched with eye pads and covered with a metal or hard plastic shield to protect it from injury. Patients are allowed to eat something light as soon as they feel ready. Before going home, the patient is instructed on how to use the necessary medications, which may be ointments or eye drops, and given a medical schedule to follow. The day after the surgery, the doctor examines the eye and usually puts the patch back on. Many patients are able to open their eyes and notice visual improvements immediately.
Small twinges of pain during the healing process are expected. But the doctor must be notified if the eye hurts or throbs steadily for more than two or three hours.
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