Corneal transplants are rejected 5 percent to 30 percent of the time. The rejected cornea clouds and vision deteriorates.
Most rejections, if treated promptly, can be stopped with minimal injury. Warning signs of rejection are:
- Persistent discomfort
- Light sensitivity
- Change in vision
Any of these symptoms should be reported to your ophthalmologist immediately.
Other complications include:
- Swelling or detachment of the retina
All of these complications can be treated.
A corneal transplant can be repeated, usually with good results, but the overall rejection rates for repeated transplants are higher than for the first transplant.
Irregular curvature of the transplanted cornea (astigmatism) may slow the return of vision but can also be treated. Vision may continue to improve up to a year after surgery.
If the surgery is successful, other existing eye conditions, such as macular degeneration, glaucoma or diabetic retinopathy, may limit vision after surgery. Even with such problems, a corneal transplant may still be worthwhile.
A successful corneal transplant requires care and attention on the part of both patient and physician. However, no other surgery has so much to offer when the unhealthy cornea is deeply scarred or swollen.
Corneal transplant surgery would not be possible without the thousands of generous donors and their families who have donated corneal tissue so that others may see.