The cornea is the front clear cover over the eye. Light enters the eye through the cornea and it continues to the back of the eye, the retina. If the cornea is damaged due to a disease or is scarred due to a trauma, a new cornea can be transplanted from an organ donor.
A cloudy cornea scatters an distorting light, causing glare and blurred vision. The cornea transplant restores vision. There are many reasons that a corneal graft might be needed, such as if the lashes point inward and rub against the cornea, causing scarring and vision loss. Eyeglasses or regular contact lenses will likely not be able to restore clear vision but fortunately special contact lenses often can. Other reasons that may require corneal grafts include scarring caused by herpes, certain hereditary conditions, keratoconus, LASIK, chemical burns, or mechanical injury.
Cornea transplants are performed routinely and have a reasonable success rate. In fact, cornea grafts are the most successful of all tissue transplants. After the transplant, most people are nearsighted and have an irregular eye surface. In addition, there is a large amount of irregular astigmatism because the curve of the new corneal tissue can’t match exactly the curve of your natural cornea. Special customized lenses are used after the corneal transplant, most often scleral lenses that rest on the white part of the eye.