If you have damage to your cornea because of an injury or infection, your eye doctor has options. While you may be nervous about any surgery that has to do with your eyes, cornea surgery has numerous benefits. Your cornea is in several layers, and you can get a partial transplant or a complete transplant depending on the level of your injury. If the cornea has been damaged from previous surgery, a full transplant will probably be necessary. Although stitches used are as small as a piece of hair, this level of cornea surgery takes the longest to heal.
How Surgery Is Performed
Cornea surgery is usually done under local anesthesia on an outpatient basis. Your eye will be numb, and you probably won't understand what is going on at the time. Your surgeon performs the surgery using a microscope and the entire procedure will take less than an hour on one eye. Once the surgery is complete, you will wear an eye patch for a few days while your eye heals. This protects your eye and keeps it clean while your new cornea heals.
Taking Care of Your Eye Post Surgery
Your eye may be sore for a few days, but some people experience minimal discomfort after cornea surgery. Your doctor can prescribe medication to reduce inflammation and pain so that you are more comfortable as you heal. If you have redness or pain, this generally only lasts a few days. If you have excessive pain, swelling, or develop an infection, you will need to visit with your surgeon right away.
Complications From Cornea Surgery
During the early stages of your recovery, you may be more sensitive to light. As the tissue used to replace your cornea is donor tissue, you have a slight risk of tissue rejection. The amount of tissue used is low, and so are the chances of rejection. If a rejection of the tissue occurs, you will need to have another cornea surgery to use different tissue. Your vision should improve over time, but it could take up to a year for you to fully experience your optimal vision after cornea surgery.
Every patient is different. If you are scheduled for cornea surgery, talk to your eye doctor about your expected outcome. Whether your surgery is minimal or you are having a complete transplant, the surgery is successful at restoring vision for most patients who follow all doctor instructions.