About Penetrating Keratoplasty (PKP)
Penetrating keratoplasty (PKP), also known as a corneal transplant or a corneal graft, is a surgical procedure that eliminates the damaged or diseased part of the cornea and replaces it with healthy donor tissue. The cornea is the transparent layer on the front of the eye, which helps properly position light on the retina. If the cornea becomes damaged, diseased, or is misshapen, it impacts how the light focuses back to the retina and causes visual acuity issues. If you have a problem with your cornea, our ophthalmologists may perform PKP. During this procedure, all five layers of the cornea are exchanged with healthy donor tissue. To learn more about this advanced treatment, please call our helpful staff at Ophthalmology Associates of the Valley located in San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles, CA.
You may be a good candidate for penetrating keratoplasty if your cornea has an irregular curve. If the curvature is too steep or flat to undergo other types of treatment or if you have severe damage from an injury, infection, or another surgery, PKP is an effective treatment option for these problems. If you have one of the following conditions, you may also benefit from PKP. These include:
- Corneal swelling
- Severe trauma
- Fuch’s dystrophy
Before your procedure, we will administer a local or general anesthesia. Next, our ophthalmologists will use a specialized device to help hold the eyes open, and they perform specific measurements to determine the amount of donor tissue needed. Using a specialized tool called a trephine, this device starts to cut and remove the damaged or diseased cornea and then the surgeon grafts the healthy donor tissue. To attach the tissue, we place stitches near the site, which remain in the eye for several months or sometimes up to a year. Generally, PKP is completed as an outpatient procedure in about 1 – 2 hours.
What to Expect
After your surgery, you may experience blurry vision and the new tissue could feel inflamed and somewhat thicker compared to the other parts of your cornea. To prevent your body from rejecting the graft and to ensure proper healing, patients should use eye drops for many months or as instructed by your surgeon. You should also ensure your eye is protected at all times. Patients need to wear an eye shield at bedtime or eyeglasses during the day to reduce the chance of accidentally bumping their eye(s). Once your vision improves, you can start to resume your everyday activities. As your eyes start to heal, your visual acuity may consistently change for up to a year or longer. You will also need to attend regular follow-up appointments for the next few months.
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Improved Eyesight After Penetrating Keratoplasty (PKP)
If you suffer from a corneal issue that requires PKP or a transplant of healthy donor tissue, our team is dedicated to helping you feel knowledgeable about the procedure. We will take the time to listen to your concerns and develop a treatment plan that can help improve your eyesight. We strive to help you live a better quality of life by enabling you to see better. If you would like to learn more about penetrating keratoplasty (PKP), please call Ophthalmology Associates of the Valley in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles, CA. Either of our locations in Encino or West Hills can provide information about this innovative surgery.