Be very careful about rushing into a cornea transplant (see images of failed transplants at bottom of this page). About 50,000 corneal transplant surgeries are performed every year in the United States. The purpose of this procedure is to replace diseased corneal tissue with a healthy cornea from an organ donor. Corneal eye disease is the fourth most common cause of a blindness (after cataracts, glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration) and affects more than 10 million people worldwide.
There is no way to determine the final outcome of a corneal transplant as far as the curvature of the new ocular surface is concerned. Almost all of the post-corneal transplant patients who we have seen over the years have significantly distorted corneas. This is due to the suturing and healing process that every transplanted cornea needs to go through with the recipient eye.
In our specialty practice, all of this special patient population is wearing a GVR Scleral lens over the transplanted cornea. The reasons we use these unique lenses are:
1. There is a life long risk of rejection of the donated cornea. Any contact lens that rubs against the donor cornea could cause irritation and infection to the host eye. It is conceivable that this could lead to rejection of the donated cornea. The GVR Scleral lens vaults over the donor cornea and is supported by the white portion of the eye (the sclera). It does not rest on or touch the donor cornea. Saline solution fills the space between the back surface of the lens and the front surface of the donor cornea. Vision and comfort are almost always excellent.
2. As stated above, there is no way of knowing what the final corneal curvatures of the donor cornea will be after the healing process takes place which could be many months. It has been our experience that almost all of the transplanted corneas we have seen have significant distortions and irregularities after the healing period has taken place. Vision with eyeglasses is usually very poor. Conventional contact lenses such as soft lenses or conventional gas permeable lenses are either not comfortable or provide very poor vision. A scleral lens is the only technology that will replace the irregular transplanted cornea as an optical surface.The GVR Scleral lens along with the liquid interface behind the lens will provide clear comfortable vision once again to the great majority of this patient population.
At the present time, many eye doctors are still telling their patients that they will need a corneal transplant, or to wait until the eye gets bad enough and then they can have a corneal transplant done. These doctors will not inform their patients about non-surgical alternatives such as the GVR Scleral lens which is a non-invasive and yet a very safe alternative when compared to corneal transplant surgery. Many of these eye doctors will never discuss the risks of corneal transplant surgery.
Below is an image of the GVR scleral lens over cornea transplant
Below is the image of a patient's 4th cornea transplant.
Here are other images of failed transplants
Below is an image of a failed cornea transplant resulting in complete blindness.