"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Corneal transplants have gotten more common.

At one time, alternative eye parts would have seemed unimaginable. Today, if the attention's inner lens becomes cloudy resulting from a cataract, routine surgery to exchange it with a brand new artificial lens restores vision.

According to the Eye Bank Association of America, greater than 49,000 cornea transplants were performed within the United States in 2021.

What is the cornea?

The cornea is a dome of clear tissue on the front of every eye, covering the iris and pupil, which acts as a windshield that protects the fragile eye apparatus behind it, and focuses light onto the retina. is, which sends signals which can be converted to the brain. Images (your perspective).

You need this mix of windshield and camera lens to focus and see clearly. But many things can go unsuitable inside the five layers of tissue that make up the cornea. This could make it difficult to see and take away your ability to read, drive, work, and go about your other day-to-day activities.

How is the cornea damaged?

This might be resulting from several reasons:

  • Injuries, comparable to falls. “Falls are a major cause of people presenting with severe eye trauma,” says Dr. Venkateswaran.
  • Previous eye surgery. “Especially for adults who have had multiple eye surgeries — such as cataract and glaucoma surgery — the inner layers of the cornea can deteriorate and weaken with age,” she adds.
  • disease. Severe corneal infections, or genetic conditions comparable to Focal's endothelial dystrophy, could cause vision loss.

What are the treatment options for corneal damage?

Corneal treatment is determined by the variety of problem you could have and the extent of the damage. “It's a stepwise approach. Sometimes wearing special contact lenses or using medication can reduce swelling or scarring in the cornea,” says Dr. Venkateswaran.

When the damage can't be repaired, surgeons can replace a number of layers of the cornea (partial-thickness transplant), or the whole thing (full-thickness transplant).

The majority of transplants come from donor corneas which can be obtained and processed by eye banks throughout the United States. In some cases, comparable to when repeated transplants fail, a man-made cornea is an option. Recovery after corneal surgery can take as much as a yr.

How long does a corneal transplant last?

There is at all times a risk that your body will reject the corneal transplant. This is about one-third the time for a full-thickness transplant. This occurs less regularly for partial-thickness transplants. Lifelong eye drops are needed to stop rejection.

Still, transplant longevity varies. “I've seen transplants from 50 or 60 years ago and so they're just beginning to break down. Other patients, for various reasons — immune system attacks, intolerance to eye drops, or underlying conditions — I can only have one disease. Transplant for five to 10 years before one other is required,” explains Dr. Venkateswaran.

Preventive eye care might help protect the cornea.

Regular comprehensive eye exams are essential to be certain that your cornea and the remainder of your eyes are healthy.

American Academy of Ophthalmology Recommends A comprehensive eye exam

  • At the age of 40
  • Every two to 4 years for people ages 40 to 54
  • One to a few years each for people aged 55 to 64
  • One to 2 years each for those 65 and older.

You'll need more frequent eye exams if you could have underlying conditions that increase your risk of eye disease, comparable to diabetes or a family history of corneal disease.

If you could have any vision problems, comparable to eye pain, redness, blurred vision despite recent glasses, or blurred vision, see a watch doctor.

Fortunately, for many who experience corneal damage, advances in surgical options are encouraging.

“Corneal transplants are a miracle,” says Dr. Venkateswaran. “I have had patients whose quality of life was significantly reduced because they couldn't see through their cloudy windshield. We can give them sight again, and we have the technology and drugs to keep the transplant alive.”