The cornea is the clear window into the eye. When this is scarred or misshapen, treatment is required to remove the scar or to alter the shape of the eye. This can be performed with laser eye surgery, or occasionally by transplanting the cornea.
"I had lived with Kerataconus in my right eye for more than 30 years. I finally decided to have a DALK procedure in November last year to replace my damaged cornea. The whole experience was extremely straight forward and after 8 weeks the vision is already better than it was before the operation. My only regret is that I waited so long! Mr Hamada has been excellent right from my first consultation and I would have no hesitation in recommending him."
A McIndoe Centre Patient
Why You Might Need Cornea Treatment
You can require cornea treatment for a number of different reasons, such as keratoconus – a condition which causes the cornea to weaken, change shape and become thinner. Most cases of keratoconus can be treated with contact lenses and glasses, although more severe cases will require a cornea transplant.
Other reasons for needing treatment are degenerative cases where the patient’s eyesight deteriorates over time, and if a small hole or infection appears in the cornea as a result of damage.
What Does Cornea Treatment Involve?
The type of cornea treatment that a patient receives is dependent on the type and severity of the condition, particularly in cases of keratoconus and corneal dystrophy. In minor cases, the condition can be managed with contact lenses and glasses.
In more severe cases, a corneal transplant is required. The surgery can be carried out under local or general anaesthetic. A circular piece of the cornea will be removed and replaced with a donor cornea that matches the size and shape of the patient’s and is stitched into place.
Scars may be noticeable following surgery, which can take between one and two hours to perform.
Recovery After Surgery
To enjoy the full vision after undergoing a corneal transplant, it can take anywhere between a few weeks to a year. It is likely that corrective lenses will be required after vision returns.
Patients with jobs involving physical work or manual labour should stay off work for two to three weeks, taking care to avoid strenuous activities, dusty areas, and refrain from rubbing the eyes.
This article was written by The McIndoe Centre, in collaboration with Samer Hamada MD, MSc, DO(hons), FRCSEd, FRCOphth Consultant Ophthalmic, Corneal and Refractive Surgeon. All information, advice and procedures were updated on 17th September 2019.
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