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Corneal Transplants

Understanding the Cornea
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corneal transplant

The cornea is the transparent, clear front part of the eye that covers the iris, pupil and anterior chamber. Together with the lens, the cornea refracts light, with the cornea accounting for approximately two-thirds of the eye's total optical power.

If a cornea becomes damaged through infection, injury or diseases like keratoconus or Fuchs’ corneal dystrophy, the resulting corneal swelling, astigmatism, or scars can interfere with vision by blocking or distorting light as it enters the eye.

If you think you have a corneal disease, please contact us. All of our doctors have the necessary experience, expertise, and equipment to diagnose and treat corneal diseases. We also have a fellowship-trained cornea specialist on staff.

Some corneal diseases can be treated with medicinal drops, glasses, and special contact lenses. However, if the vision is significantly distorted and blurry secondary to corneal swelling, scarring, or irregular astigmatism, a corneal transplant may be indicated to help restore your vision.


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What are the common indications for a cornea transplant?

Keratoconus, Fuchs’ corneal dystrophy, chemical burns, and infectious scars from herpes simplex virus or bacterial ulcers from contact lenses are some common causes of a damaged cornea. If severe enough, a corneal transplant may become necessary.

What is a Corneal Transplant?

A corneal transplant, also known as a penetrating keratoplasty, involves the removal of the diseased cornea and replacing it with donor corneal tissue. The new corneal graft is held in place with sutures that help the wound heal. The donor tissue does not need to be blood matched because typically there aren’t any blood vessels on the cornea.

What is a Cornea Specialist?

A cornea specialist is an ophthalmologist who has undergone additional training and study of the cornea structure, diseases and related surgeries. Having an experienced cornea specialist can increase the chances of having a successful corneal surgical outcome.

Because a corneal transplant is significant eye surgery and can be associated with complications, the decision for surgery is not easy. Our doctors will help you make that difficult decision. Typically, the prognosis for a corneal transplant is very good depending on the indication for surgery.

Please contact Denver Eye Surgeons to set up an evaluation if you have corneal disease. Our doctors are all trained in diseases of the cornea. We do have a cornea specialist on staff for when corneal surgery may be necessary. We are known as the Denver cornea transplant experts.

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