Risks

Cornea transplant is a relatively safe procedure. Still, it does carry a small risk of serious complications, such as:

  • Eye infection
  • Increased risk of clouding of the eye's lens (cataract)
  • Pressure increase within the eyeball (glaucoma)
  • Problems with the stitches used to secure the donor cornea
  • Rejection of the donor cornea
  • Swelling of the cornea

Signs and symptoms of cornea rejection

In some cases, your body's immune system may mistakenly attack the donor cornea. This is called rejection, and it may require medical treatment or another cornea transplant.

Make an appointment with your eye doctor if you notice any signs and symptoms of rejection, such as:

  • Loss of vision
  • Pain
  • Redness
  • Sensitivity to light

Rejection occurs in about 10 percent of cornea transplants.

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.