How you prepare

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Before cornea transplant surgery, you will undergo:

  • A thorough eye exam. Your eye doctor looks for conditions that may cause complications after surgery.
  • Measurements of your eye. Your eye doctor determines what size donor cornea you need.
  • A review of all medications and supplements you're taking. You may need to stop taking certain medications or supplements before or after your cornea transplant.
  • Treatment for other eye problems. Unrelated eye problems, such as infection or inflammation, may reduce your chances of successful cornea transplant. Your eye doctor will work to treat those problems before your surgery.

Your doctor will discuss what to expect during the procedure and explain the risks of the procedure.

Finding a donor cornea

Most corneas used in cornea transplants come from deceased donors. Unlike with other organs, such as livers and kidneys, people needing cornea transplants generally will not need to endure long waits. That's because many people specifically request that their corneas be available for donation after they die, unless they have had certain conditions, so more corneas are available for transplantation compared with other organs.

Corneas may not be used from donors who had several conditions, such as certain central nervous system conditions, infections, and prior eye surgery or eye conditions, or from people who died from an unknown cause.

Jun. 28, 2014