Cornea Care

A corneal transplant is surgery to replace the clear surface on the front of the eye (the cornea).

Most corneal transplants are done while you are awake. The health care provider will anesthetize the eye area so you do not feel any pain during surgery. You may be given a sedative to reduce anxiety.

The tissue for the corneal transplant is taken from a recently deceased person whose family agreed to donate it.

The most common type of corneal transplant is called penetrating keratoplasty. During this procedure, the surgeon removes a small circle-sized piece of your cornea. The donated cornea is stitched onto the opening in your eye. Your doctor will remove the stitches at a later date.

Why the Procedure is Performed

Corneal transplantation is recommended for persons who have:

  • Thinning of the cornea that causes vision problems (keratoconus)
  • Scarring of the cornea from severe infections or injuries
  • Cloudiness of the cornea that causes vision loss (Fuchs’ dystrophy)

Full visual recovery may take up to 1 year. Most patients with successful corneal transplants will enjoy good vision for many years.

IntraLase Enabled Keratoplasty (IEK) is a revolutionary way of performing laser assisted corneal transplant surgery, where the precision of the IntraLase Laser used in bladeless Laser vision correction is employed to reduce manual imperfections of standard corneal transplant surgery.

The cornea is the clear, living tissue on the very front part of the eye. Occasionally, either through disease or injury, the corneal tissue is damaged to a point where a corneal transplant procedure is needed to replace the damaged cornea with a clear cornea from the eye bank. This is an extremely delicate microsurgical procedure that has been successfully performed for over 100 years using a cutting blade called a trephine to remove the damaged cornea. The IntraLase Enabled Keratoplasty procedure replaces the trephine with an ultra-violet laser to permit a more precise, customized, incision with better healing properties and improved visual outcome.

Dr. Paul Wright is the full-service corneal specialist in South Dakota who can provide this advanced technique for those in need of corneal transplants. In fact, Dr. Wright was one of the first surgeons in the United States to offer this treatment using the specialized IntraLase laser.