The cornea is located just in front of the iris layer, which forms the colored part of the eye structure. The cornea completely covers the iris thanks to its transparent structure and also its thinness. The rays reflected to the eye first reach the cornea and then the nerve layer called the retina. However, the cornea, which cannot fulfill these tasks, should be replaced with donated corneal tissue. This is also known as a corneal transplant.
This transplant, which can also be expressed as a corneal graft in medical language, is much easier than other transplants. The cornea, which does not have a vascular structure, can be easily replaced. This procedure is performed with a surgical procedure and is performed in the operating room environment.
Corneal transplantation can be done with a full-thickness cornea, or it can be done only in the form of the upper or lower layer. The general health status of the patient and the problems he/she experiences determine how this surgical intervention, which has different methods, will be performed. If you have a topic or question in your mind, you can review various resources on the subject.
What is Cornea?
As mentioned before, the cornea, which is located just above the iris layer and has a transparent structure, is replaced with the donated cornea when certain adverse events occur. Starting from the question of what is the cornea, you can reach detailed explanations about both this structure and corneal transplantation.
Thanks to its vascular structure, the cornea, which appears transparent, receives the first rays coming into the eye and then transmits them to the retina. This process performed by the cornea constitutes the vision event. However, if the cornea cannot fulfill its function and loses its transparency, transplantation should be performed according to many experts.
Who gets a cornea transplant?
- Corneal transplantation is performed for people who have the following problems:
- In cases where scarring occurs due to corneal injury or infection
- When a medical event occurs that causes the cornea to become swollen
- In case of clouding or thinning of the cornea
- In case of hereditary eye diseases
- In diseases caused by early eye surgeries
People who have these problems should be treated immediately and corneal transplantation should be performed. Otherwise, different health problems may occur and the quality of life of the person will decrease.
Who Cannot Have Cornea Transplantation?
- Corneal transplantation is not applied to people with the following conditions:
- If the decrease or absence of vision is due to reasons not related to the cornea
- People with severe eye disease
- In advanced glaucoma
- Those who have mouth and eye injuries
- People who have vision problems in the first 6 years of their life
- People with specific problems
In the above-mentioned cases, corneal transplantation is not performed. Before the transplant, the specialist doctor will apply some tests to you and learn your disease history. As a result, it will be determined whether you are suitable for surgery and if necessary, other treatment methods will be tried. To summarize briefly, whether the transplant will take place depends on the decision and discretion of the specialist physician.
Which Area Affects Cornea Transplantation?
Corneal problems, which are among the eye diseases, are investigated within the scope of the question of which area is corneal transplantation due to different explanations and pronunciations. You can visit the eye health and diseases department of the hospitals and explain the problems you are experiencing to the doctors here.
You can use the MHRS system or call the ALO 182 appointment line to make an appointment with the eye health and diseases polyclinics of the hospitals. If you make an appointment, you should go to the hospital on the specified date and be examined and have information about diagnosis and treatment.
Early diagnosis is of great importance for the successful application of corneal transplantation and the recovery of the patient as a result of the treatment. Therefore, when patients encounter symptoms, they should go to the hospital and seek help from a specialist without wasting time.
Preparation Process Before Corneal Transplantation
Before the corneal transplant, the specialist physician performs various tests and controls in order to check the general health status of the patient and to determine whether he is suitable for surgery. If, as a result of these controls, the patient is found to be suitable for surgery, the surgery is performed.
A few weeks before the corneal transplant, the patient should stop taking medications such as aspirin. because these drugs have a blood thinning effect. In addition, the use of antibiotics before the transplant is recommended for many patients. This will reduce the risk of infection.
Before corneal transplantation, it is checked whether there are problems such as infection in the patient's eye. The reason for this is that infection can reduce the success rate of surgery. In addition to all these, your doctor can give you advice on some issues and indicate the situations that you should stay away from.
It is very important for the course of the surgery to follow your doctor's recommendations. All the necessary information according to the technique of the surgery will be conveyed to you and all your questions will be answered. Then, when all the stages are completed, your surgery will begin.
How is a Cornea Transplant Performed?
Local or general anesthesia is applied to the patient before corneal transplantation is performed. After anesthesia, the eye and its surroundings are cleaned and covered with a sterile drape. Then the center of the cornea is marked and the process begins.
A circular full-thickness incision with a diameter of 7-7.75 mm is made in the center of the cornea with the help of a vacuum tool with a round blade. Thus, the center of the cornea is removed. The donor cornea is prepared in accordance with the recipient bed with a vacuum instrument containing a circular blade.
The donor cornea is sutured to the recipient bed using different sutures. Then, an antibiotic drug is applied to the eye area and the procedure is terminated. The duration of the operation is approximately 40 minutes. However, this period may be extended depending on some variables. The patient, whose surgery is completed, is taken to his room and rested.
Since the patient is anesthetized during the surgery, no pain or pain is felt. Thanks to the special tools used today, the surgery is successfully completed and the patient regains his health. If different diseases are to be treated at the time of surgery, changes may occur in the technique.
What Are the Risks of a Corneal Transplant?
Although corneal transplantation can be applied successfully thanks to today's tools and facilities, it also carries some risks. These risks are listed below.
- Expulsive bleeding may occur.
- An increase in intraocular pressure may occur.
- Astigmatism may be seen.
- Infection may occur.
- Tissue rejection may occur.
- Various health problems may occur as a result of incorrect interventions.
Corneal transplant has such risks. In order to minimize the possibility of these risks, it is very important that the operating environment is sterile. In addition, the knowledge and experience of the surgeon is of great importance for the success of the surgery.
When the above-mentioned risks occur, the patient can be rehabilitated by intervention. These risks are usually not vital and the patient recovers easily. However, the age and special conditions of the patient can also be decisive in this regard.
Post Corneal Transplant Process
After the cornea transplant, the patient is taken to the room and rested. It is normal to have complaints such as watering and stinging for a few weeks after the surgery. It is essential to use a protective bandage on the day of surgery. The eye should be protected against impacts, especially on the first day.
After surgery, the level of vision may not improve immediately. On the 1st day, controls start and these controls continue at regular intervals. Stitches are usually removed after 1 year. During this process, the doctor's recommendations should be followed and some conditions should be considered.
Medications given after the surgery should be used regularly. If medications and controls are disrupted, the patient's recovery will be difficult. For this reason, drugs should be used regularly and controls should be made regularly. Controls are usually carried out once a month. Necessary information will be sent to you after the surgery.