Myths and Facts about Cornea Transplants

1.1Myth– Whole eye is removed and a new eye is put in its place.
Fact– Whole eye transplant is not yet possible. What we transplant is only the cornea, which is the front transparent part of the eye.

Myth– Eye transplant is the solution for all eyes.

Fact– Eye transplant is a misnomer. It is only cornea that we can transplant. Only the diseases that affect the cornea can be treated with cornea/ eye transplant. If the vision is lost due to disease of any other part of the eye such as retina, lens or vitreous; eye or cornea transplant does not help in these cases.

Myth– Some use animal eyes for transplant.
Fact– Only human cadaveric eye/cornea are used for transplant. No animal eyes are used for transplant in human beings.

Myth– Most corneal transplants fail.
Fact– Cornea transplant has relatively a good success rate. Compared to most other organ transplant, cornea transplant has a 5 year survival rate varying from 70-90 %, depending on the indication for surgery. For many conditions that have good prognosis the survival is as high as 95%.

Myth– One can stop drops once vision improves.
Fact– Corneal graft being procured from someone else is necessary to continue immunosuppressive drops for almost a year. The frequency of the drops will be decided by the treating doctor.

Myth– Once the graft rejects, one has to repeat the surgery.
Fact– On graft rejection, if picked up on time, it can be reversed with aggressive immunosuppressive drops. Only if the rejection does not reverse, one may have to repeat transplant.