A penetrating keratoplasty is a type of cornea transplant that our specialists perform. It is a full thickness cornea transplant. The cornea is the thin, clear piece of tissue at the front of the eye. It is the part of the eye that a contact lens sits on. In order to see your best, it must be clear and compact so that you can easily see through it. Should it become swollen, hazy or scarred, your vision would decrease dramatically.
There are times when a person’s cornea becomes permanently damaged due to severe scarring or permanent swelling. These individuals require some form of a cornea transplant.
The traditional cornea transplant is known as a penetrating keratoplasty. We take a new cornea from someone who has unfortunately died, but donated his or her eyes The donor cornea is evaluated to make sure it is of excellent quality before it is transplanted. Next, we remove the damaged cornea from the patient and replace it with the new, donor cornea. It is sutured into place. This is done as an outpatient procedure. You go home the same day with a patch and shield over the eye and follow up in the office the next day.
The healing process takes many months up to a year. Best vision takes time and often requires glasses or a contact lens. Nonetheless, the final outcome can be life changing for those who require the surgery.