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Corneal transplant due to eye damage

The cornea is the outer part of the eye through which light enters the eye. This can be damaged for various reasons, causing poor visibility. The cornea can be irreparably damaged. The only way to see well again is through a cornea transplant from a donor. The operation is relatively uncomplicated and is performed under local anesthesia or general anesthesia. What does this transplant entail and what aftercare is required?

The cornea

The cornea is a transparent membrane that covers the front of the eyeball. This is where the light enters the eye. The cornea covers the iris, which is also called the iris. The light enters the eye through the iris and reaches the retina, which carries the message to the brain via the optic nerve. If the cornea is damaged for some reason, a clear image will no longer be received and vision will deteriorate. The shape of the cornea can also change, causing the eye to no longer receive light properly.


The cornea can be damaged for many reasons. For example, a sharp object can pierce the cornea or a corrosive substance can enter the eye. On New Year’s Eve there is also a lot of eye damage caused by unsafe lighting of fireworks. Cornea damage can also occur as a result of an illness, hereditary condition or infection. If the cornea is damaged beyond repair, the cloudy cornea can sometimes be replaced with a clear cornea from a donor.

Corneal transplantation

If the cornea is permanently damaged or has acquired an irregular shape that obstructs vision, this can only be remedied by replacing the cornea. A transplant then takes place in which the damaged cornea is replaced by a new cornea given by a donor. The waiting time for a donor cornea is not known in advance. The cornea is replaced by surgery.

The operation

Because the corneal tissue does not contain blood vessels, this surgery is relatively uncomplicated. This is because the chance of rejection is small. In consultation with the surgeon, it will be determined whether this procedure will take place under local anesthesia or general anesthesia. The surgeon will remove a round disk from the cornea and replace it with the same size disk from the donor. The new disc is secured using sutures. On average, you will stay in the hospital for a week after this procedure.

The aftercare

It is very important after the operation to prevent infection and therefore rejection. Eye drops are usually given for a long time after the operation. Recovery takes a long time and the stitches sometimes have to remain in the eye for up to a year. The shape of the new cornea can still adapt for months after the operation. The final result will therefore take a long time to appear. Because the eye is still vulnerable for a long time, it is recommended to protect the eye well. This can be done using glasses or a protective cap. Be careful with lifting and other strenuous activities during the first few months.


A corneal transplant usually has a good result, but it remains a transplant where there is sometimes a risk of rejection. The cornea may become cloudy again and may be accompanied by eye irritation, eye pain, sometimes redness or blurred vision. If any of the symptoms occur, it is very important to visit the ophthalmologist as soon as possible.