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Cornea Transplants

Portland Corneal Transplant Surgery

A corneal transplant (also known as keratoplasty) is a surgery during which all or part of your damaged cornea is replaced with corneal tissue from a donor. There are several different types of cornea transplant procedures which we will cover in more detail below. 

Corneal transplants can effectively restore vision, reduce pain, and drastically improve your quality of life. These surgeries are performed by our specialized team of ophthalmologists with extremely high rates of success.

Contact our corneal transplant doctors today to learn more and explore your options!

Types of Keratoplasty (Cornea Transplant)

DMEK (Descemt Membrane Endothelial Keratoplasty)

This is the latest iteration of endothelial keratoplasty. It replaces only descemet’s membrane and endothelium, and leaves the patient’s cornea closer to its original condition than any other transplant technique.

DMEK Cornea Transplants

DSAEK (Descemet Stripping Automated Endothelial Keratoplasty)

This is the most common iteration of endothelial keratoplasty. DSAEK involves stripping the patient’s descemet membrane and replacing it with eye bank prepared tissue.

DSAEK Cornea Transplants

DALK (Deep Anterior Lamellar Keratoplasty)

This procedure involves the removal of the layers of the cornea above the descemet membrane. This surgical treatment of corneal ectasias, keratoconus, and cornea damage allows for the retention of the patient’s healthy endothelium while replacing the unhealthy cornea.

DALK Cornea Transplants

PK (Penetrating Keratoplasty)

During this type of procedure, the entire front portion of the cornea is removed and replaced with a donor cornea.

PK Cornea Transplants

These are complicated procedures, so be sure to talk them over with an eye specialist to determine which option is best for you.

Preparing for Cornea Transplant Surgery

Prior to cornea transplant surgery, you will likely undergo a thorough eye exam, measurements of your eye to determine the size of transplant needed, a careful review of your medical history and any current medications, and treatment for any other eye problems that may interfere with the transplant surgery or increase the risks. Your eye doctor will provide you with detailed instructions, which you should follow carefully, to help you prepare for the surgery itself. Fortunately, donor corneas are typically readily available so you won’t have to endure a very long wait compared to other types of transplant surgeries. 

Understanding the Procedure

Cornea transplant surgery typically takes one or two hours, depending on the type of procedure, and most are outpatient surgeries, meaning you can go home shortly after the surgery is completed. You will remain awake during the procedure, but you’ll receive a sedative and a local anesthetic, so you shouldn’t feel any pain. The specifics of the procedure itself will depend on the type of procedure your eye doctor determines is best for you. 

Corneal Transplant Recovery

The length of the recovery process depends on several factors, including the type of procedure performed, but usually takes between 3 and 12 months or so. After corneal transplant surgery, your doctor will likely have you wear an eye patch for a few days while the top layer of your cornea heals. It’s normal to experience blurred vision, soreness, redness, and sensitivity to light for a few days after the surgery. You will likely have several appointments with your eye doctor to ensure everything is healing as it should be. You may be prescribed eye drops to reduce inflammation and the risk of infection. Be sure to follow your doctor’s specific instructions carefully. 

Corneal Transplant Cost

The cost of a corneal transplant depends on several factors, including the severity of the condition, the type of procedure performed, and your insurance coverage. According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, a corneal transplant for an advanced condition typically costs around $13,000 for an outpatient procedure or $28,000 for an in-hospital procedure for individuals without health insurance. Fortunately, in the United States, the cost of corneal transplant surgery and related exams is typically fully or partially covered by insurance. You should talk this over with your eye doctor and insurance provider for a more accurate cost estimate. 

Cornea Transplant FAQs

What is a Corneal Transplant?

A corneal transplant (also known as keratoplasty) is a surgery during which all or part of your damaged cornea is replaced with corneal tissue from a donor.

Does Insurance Cover Corneal Transplant Surgery?

In the United States, the cost of corneal transplant surgery and related exams is typically fully or partially covered by insurance. You will need to talk to your eye doctor and insurance provider to learn more. 

How Much Does Cornea Transplant Surgery Cost?

A corneal transplant for an advanced condition typically costs around $13,000 for an outpatient procedure or $28,000 for an in-hospital procedure for individuals without health insurance. 

How Long Does a Corneal Transplant Last?

The lifespan of a corneal transplant depends on the underlying condition. For example, a transplant in a patient with keratoconus typically lasts between 15 and 20 years. Talk to your eye doctor to learn more. 

What is the Corneal Transplant Success Rate?

The success rate of a corneal transplant depends on many factors, including the specific type of procedure performed and the underlying condition, but the overall success rate is very high.

What to Expect After Corneal Transplant?

You can expect your vision to return gradually after corneal transplant surgery. In some cases, patients experience improved vision within just a few weeks, while for others it can take up to a year. 

What is a Cornea Transplant Specialist?

Corneal transplants are an advanced procedure that require special knowledge, skills, and experience. A corneal transplant specialist is a highly-qualified ophthalmologist with specific experience in corneal transplants. 

What Are Common Cornea Transplant Complications?

Although corneal transplants are common and relatively safe, some complications can still arise. These include but are not limited to: swelling of the cornea, eye infection, increased risk of cataracts, glaucoma, rejection of the donor cornea, and problems with the stitches. 

Portland Oregon’s Top Corneal Surgeons Can Help You Make the Right Decision About Cornea Transplant Surgery

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