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illustration of an eye and an artificial cornea

Cornea Transplant

Diseased or scarred corneal tissue can distort your vision and cause painful swelling.

If your cornea cannot be repaired with less invasive techniques, a cornea transplant (keratoplasty) can restore your ability to see clearly.

How can surgery help?

Replacing Diseased Tissue Can Transform Your Quality of Life

No More Discomfort

Swelling from scarring, injury, or infection can be incredibly painful. A transplant can restore the normal shape and size of your cornea.

Better Vision

An unhealthy cornea can distort the way light enters your eye, causing blurred vision or a constant glare. A corneal transplant can change the way you see the world.


A corneal transplant can effectively treat a number of conditions, including keratoconus, Fuch's dystrophy, thinning of the cornea, corneal ulcers, and more.

Is this a common procedure?

Though Surgery Can Be Daunting, It Has Been Performed Routinely Since the 1960s

corneal transplant infographic

*According to the University of Iowa

Treatment can transform the way you see the world...

The Type of Transplant You Need Will Depend on the Location of the Tissue Affected

Penetrating Keratoplasty (PK): If both the outer and inner layers are damaged, your entire cornea may need to be replaced. Recovery after a full thickness corneal transplant typically takes about one year.

Deep anterior lamellar keratoplasty (DALK): Also known as a partial thickness corneal transplant, this is more appropriate if only the front and middle layers of the cornea are damaged. DALK is often used to treat keratoconus.

Endothelial keratoplasty (EK): When only the innermost layer is damaged, the middle and outer layers can remain in place. There are two types of endothelial keratoplasty, differing by the thickness of the tissue transplanted and the implantation technique.

Let's take a closer look at what happens during treatment...

During the Most Common Type of Transplant (PK), Your Doctor Will:

Administer sedation to put your mind at ease as well as a local anesthetic, which numbs the eye

Create a small, circular incision and remove the diseased tissue

Carefully place the donor tissue in the opening

Close the incision and secure the new cornea in place

Take your vision into own your hands...

Explore Your Options

While special contact lenses can restore sight in some cases, they cannot repair a severely damaged cornea. However, depending on the extent of your condition, you may qualify for a less invasive alternative than surgery. Patients with keratoconus or corneal ulcers may be eligible for corneal cross-linking (CXL), which involves a combination of liquid vitamins and ultraviolet light. In cases where the cornea simply cannot be healed, a transplant may be the only way to improve your condition.

A corneal transplant is a generally safe and predictable way to improve the health and structure of your eye, as well as your vision. Your doctor can help you navigate your options.

Want More Information?

Contact a Doctor Near You.