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Corneal transplantation or corneal grafting is a procedure where a damaged/diseased cornea is surgically replaced by donated corneal tissue (the graft). The graft is usually extracted from a deceased individual with no known diseases that may affect the health of the recipient.
When the cornea is injured, it becomes swollen or scarred, and with the result its clarity is lost. Scars, swelling, or an irregular shape can cause the cornea to distort light which results into blurred vision.
Generally a corneal transplant is needed in following circumstances:
• *vision correction with eyeglasses or contact lenses becomes impossible
• *swelling cannot be relieved by medications/contact lenses.
• *corneal failure occurs after any other eye surgery, eg: cataract surgery
• *due to keratoconus, a condition that causes thinning of cornea
• *there's corneal rejection after a first corneal transplant
• *scarring caused after injury
SYMPTOMS OF CORNEAL DISEASE:
The cornea is the clear front window of the eye. It transmits light to the interior of the eye allowing us to see clearly. Corneal diseases can cause clouding and distortion of vision, and eventually blindness. There are many types of corneal disease. Infections related to contact lenses, abrasions from trauma, and inflammation are common. Other conditions include keratoconus, Fuchs’ endothelial dystrophy, and pterygium among many others.
SYMPTOMS OF CORNEAL DISEASE:
• Infections or inflammation along with corneal abrasions will often cause a feeling that something is in the eye, with sensitivity to light and a foreign body sensation.
• Corneal ulcers and infiltrates can be caused by bacteria in and around the eye, or by the herpes virus that lives in most of us and can travel to the nerve endings of the eye and become an active infection of the cornea.
• Contact lenses, even when fit properly, can cause a shortage of oxygen to the cornea, essential for proper functioning and clarity of this delicate structure. If your contact lens hygiene is less than optimal, or you don’t replace lenses as frequently as necessary, the cornea will eventually “protest” and cause symptoms such as redness, irritation, and blurring of vision.
• Dry Eye syndrome is common and can cause significant damage to the cornea. Some people don’t produce enough tears, and others have eyes that don’t close fully to protect the cornea and keep it moist at night. Others have chronic lid infections, a common condition known as blepharitis, that causes an unstable tear film and can aggravate dry eye along with causing inflammation of the corneal surface.
• With keratoconus, as the cornea protrudes or steepens, vision becomes increasingly blurred and contact lens wear, which is often an early treatment for the disease, becomes difficult. The contact lens may not stay on the eye due to the irregular shape of the cornea.
• A person with Fuchs’ endothelial dystrophy or bullous keratopathy may first notice glare with lights at night or in bright sunlight. As these conditions progress, vision may be foggy or blurry in the morning and clear up as the day progresses. As the diseases further progress, vision will stay blurrier later into the day and eventually may not clear at all.
• Occasionally people develop a fleshy growth on the white part of the eye that then extends onto the cornea, leading to redness, blurred vision, and an undesirable cosmetic appearance. This growth is called a Pterygium and can be removed surgically.