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Most people who receive a cornea transplant will have their vision at least partially restored. What you can expect after your cornea transplant depends on the reason for your surgery and your health.

Your risk of complications and cornea rejection continues for years after your cornea transplant. For this reason, expect to see your eye doctor annually. Cornea rejection can often be managed with medications.

Vision correction after surgery

Your vision may initially be worse than before your surgery as your eye adjusts to the new cornea. It may take several months for your vision to improve.

Once the outer layer of your cornea has healed — several weeks to several months after surgery — your eye doctor will work to make adjustments that can improve your vision, such as:

  • Correcting unevenness in your cornea (astigmatism). The stitches that hold the donor cornea in place on your eye may cause dips and bumps in your cornea, making your vision blurry in spots. Your doctor may correct some of this by releasing some stitches and tightening others.
  • Correcting vision problems. Refractive errors, such as nearsightedness and farsightedness, can be corrected with glasses, contact lenses or, in some cases, laser eye surgery.
Nov. 10, 2017
References
  1. Facts about the cornea and corneal disease. National Eye Institute. http://www.nei.nih.gov/health/cornealdisease/. Accessed Oct. 5, 2017.
  2. Pre-Plakon PA, et al. Trends in corneal transplantation: indications and techniques. Current Opinions in Ophthalmology. 2014;25:300.
  3. Endothelial keratoplasty (DSEK & DMEK). Cornea Research Foundation of America. http://www.cornea.org/Learning-Center/Cornea-Transplants/Endothelial-Keratoplasty.aspx. Accessed Oct. 5, 2017.
  4. What can be donated. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. https://organdonor.gov/about/what.html#corneas. Accessed Oct. 5, 2017.
  5. Wayman LL. Keratoconus. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed Oct. 5, 2017.
  6. About cornea transplantation. American Academy of Ophthalmology. https://www.aao.org/eye-health/treatments/about-corneal-transplantation. Accessed Oct. 5, 2017.
  7. Corneal transplantation. Merck Manual Professional Version. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/eye-disorders/corneal-disorders/corneal-transplantation. Accessed Oct. 5, 2017
  8. Bowling B, et al. Corneal and refractive surgery. In: Kanski's Clinical Ophthalmology: A Systematic Approach. 8th ed. Edinburgh, U.K.: Elsevier, Ltd.; 2016. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Oct. 5, 2017.
  9. Riggin EA. Allscripts EPSi. Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. June 23, 2017.
  10. AskMayoExpert. Corneal transplantation. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2017.
  11. Mayo Clinic. U.S. News & World Report. https://health.usnews.com/best-hospitals/area/mn/mayo-clinic-6610451. Accessed Oct. 5, 2017.
  12. Mannis MJ, et al, eds. Indications and decision making for endothelial keratoplasty. Cornea. 4th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Elsevier; 2017. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Oct. 5, 2017.
  13. Softing Hataye AL (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Oct. 30, 2017.