Corneal transplant surgery has evolved over the last few years, and approximately 46,000 cornea transplants are performed in the U.S. every year. The skilled cornea surgeons at Eye Consultants of Pennsylvania utilize the most advanced techniques to restore corneal clarity and clearer vision for patients throughout Schuylkill County.
Dr. Altman received his medical degree from the University of Massachusetts Medical School, performed his ophthalmology residency at the world-renowned Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina, and was fellowship-trained in cornea and external eye diseases at the prestigious Wills Eye Hospital in Philadelphia.
Dr. Primack graduated from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, performed his ophthalmology residency at the Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City, and was fellowship-trained in cornea, external disease, and refractive surgery at the Massachusetts Eye & Ear Infirmary at Harvard Medical School.
The Importance of the Cornea
The cornea, the normally clear tissue on the surface of the eye, plays an important role. It acts as a protective shield for the eye, keeping it free from dust, germs, and other foreign material. It also helps to focus light rays onto the retina at the back of the eye, which transmits images to the brain.
When the cornea is damaged, it can become cloudy or its shape can change. This can prevent light from reaching the retina and cause distorted images to be transmitted to the brain.
Common Reasons for Corneal Transplants
A corneal transplant can be performed to remove all or part of a damaged cornea and replace it with healthy donor tissue. The most common reasons for performing the surgery are:
- Injury/trauma — Sometimes the cornea is damaged, perforated or scarred so severely due to injury that it will not heal properly. Corneal transplant surgery may be recommended to improve vision or, in very serious injuries, to reconstruct the cornea and preserve the eye.
- Fuchs’ Dystrophy – This is a genetic condition in which the endothelial cells that line the inside of the cornea begin to die off and the cornea becomes progressively swollen. Doctors typically treat early stages of Fuchs’ Dystrophy with drops, ointments and/or contact lenses to reduce corneal swelling. However, when vision impairment affects the patient’s quality of life, a corneal transplant may be able to restore vision.
- Keratoconus— Keratoconus occurs when the surface of the cornea weakens, causing the cornea to bulge outward in a cone shape. Many cases of keratoconus are mild and can be managed with contact lenses or eyeglasses. But, in some patients, the cornea may become dangerously thin or cause serious vision problems and corneal transplantation may be recommended.
- Diseases/infection— Infections can cause damage to the cornea that will not heal. There are also other medical conditions that make the cornea very thin or cloudy. When these conditions are not responsive to medications and other treatments, a corneal transplant may become necessary.
Cornea transplants have become somewhat common in the U.S. as a treatment for damaged and cloudy corneas. They have proven to be quite effective for Fuchs’ Dystrophy, Keratoconus, corneal scars and other types of corneal disease.
Get in touch with Eye Consultants of Pennsylvania for more information about corneal transplant surgery for patients in Schuylkill County, Lancaster County, Berks County, Montgomery County, and beyond. Dr. Altman and Dr. Primack will be happy to evaluate your condition and answer your questions.