The cornea is the clear outer lens on the front of the eye. A corneal transplant is surgery to replace the cornea with tissue from a donor. It is one of the most common transplants done.
You will probably be awake during the transplant, but you will be given medicine to relax you. Local anesthesia (numbing medicine) will be injected around your eye to block pain and temporarily prevent eye muscle movement.
The tissue for your corneal transplant will come from a person (donor) who has recently died and who had agreed to donate their tissue. The donated cornea is processed and tested by a local eye bank to make sure it is safe for use in your surgery.
The most common type of corneal transplant is called “penetrating keratoplasty.” During this procedure, your surgeon will remove a small round piece of your cornea. Then your surgeon will sew the donated cornea into the opening of your cornea.
A newer technique called lamellar keratoplasty may be used for some patients. During this procedure, only the inner or outer layers of the cornea are replaced, rather than all the layers. This technique can lead to faster recovery and fewer complications.