cornea transplant, which replaces damaged tissue on the eye's clear surface, also is referred to as a corneal transplant, keratoplasty, penetrating keratoplasty (PK) or corneal graft.
A graft replaces central corneal tissue, damaged due to disease or injury, with healthy corneal tissue donated from a local eye bank. An unhealthy cornea affects your vision by scattering or distorting light and causing blurry or glary vision. A cornea transplant may be necessary to restore your functional vision.
Cornea transplants are performed routinely. In fact, of all tissue transplants, the most successful is a corneal transplant. The National Keratoconus Foundation estimates that more than 40,000 cornea transplants are performed in the United States each year. While most people undergoing a cornea transplant can expect a good outcome, graft rejection does occur in about 21 percent of cases (2004Ophthalmology textbook). However, medical management of graft rejection often can lead to healthy graft survival.
A new version of corneal transplant, known as Descemet's Stripping Endothelial Keratoplasty (DSEK), also has been introduced as a new surgical method that uses only a very thin portion of the cornea for transplant. In certain cases, this type of procedure may be preferred because it has advantages such as being less likely to create an irregular corneal surface (astigmatism) as a side effect.