what is a Cornea Transplant?
A corneal transplant, also known as keratoplasty, can be performed to restore your vision, alleviate pain, and improve the overall appearance of your eye. The surgery involves replacing a diseased or damaged cornea with a healthy and clear donor graft. The surgery is safe and effective and is performed in a comfortable outpatient setting. At Ophthalmology Associates of the Valley in Encino and West Hills, Los Angeles, our ophthalmologists specialize in all aspects of corneal transplantation by applying the latest technology and micro-surgical techniques to optimize your vision outcome and recovery. Each transplant surgery is tailored to the specific needs of the patient.
Cornea Transplant Reviews
"I have been recommending Dr. Aizuss since first seeing him. His knowledge and skill saved me from having to go through a difficult cornea procedure."- S.B. / Demandforce / Apr 06, 2021
"Dr. Aizuss is excellent. He performed DSEK cornea surgery on both eyes 10 years ago and it was successful. I see him once a year and am forever grateful."- C.B. / Demandforce / Dec 04, 2022
"Dr. Aizuss is excellent. He performed DSEK cornea surgery on both eyes 10 years ago and it was successful. I see him onc... Read More"- C.B. / Demandforce / Dec 04, 2022
"I cannot express enough gratitude to Dr. Huynh, who recently performed a DSAEK surgery on my father-in-law. From the initial consultation to the post-operative check-ups, Dr. Huynh was nothing short of amazing. Not only did he explain the procedure in detail, but he also took the time to answer all of our questions and address our concerns. The surgery itself was a complete success, and my father-in-law's vision has improved significantly. Dr. Huynh truly has a gift for what he does, and his expertise in the field of cornea surgery is unparalleled. We are so thankful for his care and would highly recommend him to anyone in need of this type of surgery. Thank you, Dr. Huynh, for giving my father-in-law his vision back!"- N. / Google / May 07, 2023
"My first visit here in about 10 years, for a thorough check of changes of the cornea. I received several tests to check ... Read More"- C.F. / Demandforce / Sep 16, 2023
Am I A candidate for Corneal Transplant?
A wide range of corneal conditions can negatively impact the optical clarity of the cornea; thereby, impairing vision. A corneal transplant is typically performed for the following conditions when standard therapy has not worked:
- Scarring form prior infection, trauma, chemical injuries, or Steven's Johnson's disease
- Fuch's dystrophy
- Chronic swelling or blisters from previous eye surgeries or inflammation
- Progressive corneal thinning from autoimmunity (i.e., rheumatoid arthritis, Sjogren's)
- Complications from refractive surgery (LASIK, PRK, RK)
TYPES OF CORNEAL TRANSPLANTS OFFERED
There are different types of corneal transplants available and the choices for surgery depend on the specific condition of the patient's cornea:
I. Traditional Penetrating Keratoplasty (PKP)
PKP, also known as a full-thickness corneal transplant, is the treatment of choice for deep corneal scars or ectasia that cannot be corrected with glasses or special contact lenses. The surgery involves using an ultra-sharp circular trephine to create a precise circular incision that is matched by a correspondingly-sized donor cornea graft. The graft is then secured in place with tiny sutures, which are then carefully removed over a course of several months as the eye heals.
II. Deep Anterior Lamellar Keratoplasty (DALK)
DALK is a partial-thickness corneal transplant that involves removing the outermost later of the patient's cornea, while preserving the crucial innermost layer called the endothelium. DALK is well-suited for patients with outer layer cornea diseases such as superficial scars or keratoconus. DALK has a much lower rejection risk compared to PKP because the patient's endothelium is left untouched.
III. Descemet's Stripping Endothelial Keratoplasty (DSEK)
DSEK is an ideal choice for patients with chronic corneal swelling or haze from endothelial disorders such as pseuodophakic bullous keratopathy or Fuch's. The surgery involves removing the innermost layer, called the endothelium along with a thin layer of stroma. The donor graft is prepared as a preloaded tissue and is held in place with an air bubble tamponade. DSEK has a rejection risk of <2% and provides quicker vision recovery compared to PKP and DALK.
IV. Descemet's Membrane Endothelial Keratoplasty (DMEK)
DMEK is the newest evolution in the treatment of endothelial corneal diseases such as Fuch's dystrophy, iridocorneal endothelial (ICE) syndrome, and complications from Herpes/Zosters/CMV endotheliitis. In DMEK, a pre-loaded ultra-thin donor graft is transplanted with the aid of a SF6 gas bubble. DMEK provides superior vision return, confers faster visual recovery when compared to the aforementioned keratoplasty techniques, and has <1% rejection rate.
In summary, corneal transplant is an effective treatment option for patients with corneal diseases. The procedure choice depends on the specific condition of the patient's cornea and is best discussed with our experienced cornea specialists. With next-generation advancements and better understanding of the immune system, corneal transplant has become a highly successful and transformative surgery with excellent long-term vision outcome for patients.
How long is recovery for a corneal transplant?
Following surgery, each patient will receive detailed post-operative instructions to ensure that the transplanted eye heals correctly. An antibiotic eyedrop and an "anti-rejection" steroid eyedrop will be prescribed. At first, it may seem like the healing is slow, but you will have great, longterm results to anticipate as your ophthalmologist guides you through the recovery process. Depending on the type of corneal transplant performed, your vision recovery can be as short as 1-month or up to 1-year.
If a partial-thickness transplant (DSEK or DMEK) is performed, you should start noticing vision improvement in about 1-2 months. If a full-thickness transplant (PKP) is performed, vision recovery usually takes up to a 1 year, as the suture is carefully removed in the office. Most PKP patients will need glasses or contact lenses to optimize their vision potential.
Corneal Transplant FAQ
How much does a corneal transplant cost?
During your consultation, our staff will assess your cornea and walk you through each step of the procedure and outline your roadmap to recovery. At this point in the process, we will also be able to offer you a detailed estimate of the cost of treatment depending on your insurance type.
Is a corneal transplant painful?
No, we will utilize either local or general anesthesia in order to ensure you remain comfortable throughout the entire length of the operation.
How long do the results of a corneal transplant last?
Generally, the results of a corneal transplant will last for over 15-25 years. In order to ensure these continued results, we will schedule bi-annual checkups to examine your ocular health and how the new cornea is progressing.
Discover Your Options
Cornea transplant surgery is an excellent treatment option that provides extremely high rates of success and effectively treats a variety of corneal problems and diseases. At Ophthalmology Associates of the Valley in San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles, CA, our skilled ophthalmologists are always abreast of the latest research and knowledge about corneal disorders and procedures. We use complex techniques, such as DMEK, DSEK, and PKP to help you see better and improve your quality of life. If you suffer from a decrease in eyesight, please call one of our locations in Los Angeles, CA to schedule a private consultation with one of our board-certified eye doctors.