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Corneal Transplant Procedure, Alternatives and Complications

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Everything You Want to Know about Cornea Transplants

Corneal transplant, also known as Penetrating Keratoplasty and Corneal Graft, is the replacement of the part of the eye called the cornea with a graft obtained from a human donor.

The cornea is the clear part at the front of the eye (similar to a window) that’s responsible for transmission of light into the eye. Various disease processes that affect the health of the cornea and cause a reduction in vision can be treated with corneal transplants, including:

      • Keratoconus
      • Scarred cornea
      • Corneal edema (swelling of the cornea)
      • Cornea infection often caused by wearing contact lenses
      • Complications caused by past eye surgeries or previous corneal transplant

Corneal transplants are routinely performed by the highly regarded Dr. Ilan Cohen in his New York and New Jersey offices.

The Challenges and Required Surgical Skills:

cornea_transplant_new_yorkThe human cornea is responsible not only for the transmission of light into the eye, but it also works as a lens for the light rays, so it must possess a precise geometric configuration to produce good vision. In order to understand how important and how delicate this configuration is, compare it to operations like LASIK which can significantly improve a patient’s vision by making slight modifications to the shape of the cornea. These modifications are usually on the order of microns (1/1000th of a millimeter). The tiniest of changes to the corneal surface can result in a major shift in vision, for the good or the bad.

The outcome of a corneal transplant depends very much on how closely the donor tissue is matched to the recipient bed in shape and how well it is sutured together. It is not surprising, therefore, that in the circle of corneal surgeons, a doctor’s surgical skill is judged by his or her skill in corneal transplantation. Corneal transplantation requires skill and dexterity that is far beyond those required for other types of eye surgery.


Dr. Cohen’s Laser Corneal Transplant:

laser_assisted_corneal_transplant_new_yorkIn traditional corneal transplants, the surgeon uses a blade to cut the donor cornea and to prepare the host bed for transplantation. This is often the reason for much of the mismatching and the reduction in vision after surgery. However, thanks to recent innovations, Dr. Ilan Cohen has been able to adopt the same laser used to cut the flap in LASIK surgery to cut the donor cornea and also to prepare the host bed for transplantation. This has revolutionized corneal transplantation and leads to some very important improvements:

  • Laser accuracy increases physical compatibility between the donor and the recipient
  • The laser allows the customization of shapes (donor and recipient) that can naturally fit into each other like a lock and key to prevent leakage from the eye post-operatively. This is not possible with manual blades.
The most important decision you can make is to put your eyesight in the hands of a fellowship trained Corneal and Refractive Surgeon, like Ilan Cohen MD, who has extensive experience with corneal transplants. Fellows go through extensive additional training under the guidance of highly-qualified experts in the field of corneal and refractive surgery. This training is unmatched by other training programs. It ensures that your surgeon is equipped to treat diseases of the cornea and that you will receive the highest standard of quality and competency with the best possible outcome.


Complications of Corneal Transplant:

The most common complication of a corneal transplant is a very high and irregular corneal astigmatism which can significantly limit the vision with and without glasses. Other complications include: post-operative leakage, rejection of the donor cornea, graft failure and infection. With the latest surgical techniques in the talented hands of Dr. Ilan Cohen, you can reduce the chance of most of these unpleasant outcomes if you decide upon a corneal transplant.

Alternatives to Corneal transplant:

A corneal transplant may become necessary as the last resort; however, we will do our best to avoid the need for corneal transplantation using less invasive technology such as Intacs, DSEAK, and PRK.

We, the doctors and the staff of the 5th Avenue Eye Center, are committed to providing you with the best surgical solutions available anywhere in the world! We have offices located in New York and New Jersey. Please contact our office to arrange for a consultation.

Related pages:

DSAEK (DSEK) or endothelial keratoplasty
Pterygium Surgery
Dry Eyes
How to Research Your Eye Surgeon
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