Post Corneal Transplant & Custom Contact Lenses In Spring, Texas
A corneal transplant performed on a patient is often the result of an eye disease or eye injury, and is meant to restore vision. After a corneal transplant, patients often require specialty contact lenses to achieve clear and comfortable vision.
Common Forms Of Corneal Transplants
Four of the most common types of corneal transplants are: Penetrating Keratoplasty (PK), Endothelial Keratoplasty (EK), ALK (Anterior Lamellar Keratoplasty) & DALK (Deep Anterior Lamellar Keratoplasty).
Penetrating Keratoplasty (PK): A corneal transplant of the full thickness of the cornea.
Endothelial Keratoplasty (EK): A corneal transplant where only the back layer of the cornea is corrected.
Anterior Lamellar Keratoplasty (ALK): A corneal transplant where only the front part of the cornea is replaced.
Deep Anterior Lamellar Keratoplasty (DALK): A corneal transplant where about 95% of the original cornea is replaced (often used to treat patients with keratoconus).
What Leads To A Cornea Transplant?
Surprisingly, tens of thousands of cornea transplants or even partial thickness cornea transplants are performed every year for numerous reasons. Patients with eye diseases that are left unmanaged or uncorrected and those with cataracts, glaucoma, or age-related macular degeneration, may require a cornea transplant in severe cases. Often, a corneal dystrophy or corneal degeneration may require a cornea transplant over time. In general, any diseased cornea can lead to blindness without proper care from an eye doctor.
What Is Keratoconus?
A semi-rare disease called keratoconus often requires some form of cornea surgery to stabilize the condition, such as corneal collagen crosslinking or a corneal transplant. Keratoconus is when the anterior cornea thing and protrudes, which distorts the shape of the cornea. Often, patients with advanced keratoconus will see haloes and suffer from eye pain, blurry vision, and sensitivity to light. While not fully understood, keratoconus is likely due to both genetic and environmental factors.
Corneal Transplants: Treatment & Recovery
Often, when a patient successfully undergoes a corneal transplant, the eye is not cured of the disease entirely. Post corneal transplant patients will notice dramatic improvements in their eyes, yet their vision will still need specialty contact lenses for correction.
Recovery from a corneal transplant can last over a year because the eye has to get used to the new cornea. Since this adjustment is unpredictable, nearsightedness or astigmatism are common refractive errors. Often eye doctors will prescribe eyeglasses during this in-between period to help one’s vision, and even after the eye has fully healed, prescription glasses may still be required.
Scleral Lenses & Post-Cornea Transplant Surgery
Cornea transplants tend to result in irregular corneas as the transplant can’t adapt fully to the eye. may recommend rigid gas permeable lenses (RGP’s), hybrid contact lenses or scleral lenses to provide a patient with clear vision and comfort without the need of any further surgery.
Scleral lenses are often the optimal choice as the lens is designed to vault over the cornea entirely. Even after a cornea transplant, the cornea may still be considered irregular and diseased. Scleral lenses allow one’s cornea to remain hydrated, provide clear vision, and avoid any risk of corneal scarring. Other options are possible, yet scleral lenses make for a safe alternative that won’t negatively affect the cornea, and in many cases, can be covered by medical insurance.