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General enquiries:
+44 (0)207 935 4444
Book an appointment:
+44 (0)207 616 7693
Self-pay enquiry:
+44 (0)203 219 3315

What is the cornea?

Your eye has a number of layers. The cornea is the transparent (clear), dome-shaped outer layer in front of the black pupil and coloured iris. Sometimes the cornea can become diseased, causing it to become less clear. This affects your vision.

Figure showing a cross-section of the eye

 

How does the cornea become diseased?

There are many causes for the cornea becoming diseased. Three common causes need surgery.

  • Keratoconus – A condition where the cornea becomes cone-shaped, causing blurred vision.
  • Endothelial decompensation – A condition that causes the cornea to become swollen and cloudy.
  • Scarring – The cornea can become scarred if you have a serious infection or injury that causes inflammation.

What are the benefits of surgery?

Your vision should improve.

Are there any alternatives to a corneal transplant?

Different types of glasses and contact lenses may help.

If you have endothelial decompensation, eye drops may be helpful.

What does the operation involve?

Various anaesthetic techniques are possible, including a general anaesthetic or a local anaesthetic that is injected around your eye to numb it. The operation usually takes 1 to 2 hours.

Your surgeon will remove the centre part of your diseased cornea and replace it with a part of a cornea from a donor (someone who has died). Your surgeon may replace all of your cornea (penetrating keratoplasty), the outer layers (deep lamellar keratoplasty) or just the inner layer (endothelial keratoplasty). Your surgeon will use small stitches to seal your eye.

What complications can happen?

General complications of any operation

  • Pain
  • Bleeding
  • Infection

Specific complications of this operation

  • Heavy bleeding inside your eye
  • Inflammation in your other eye
  • Leak at your wound
  • Transferring infection from the donor
  • Increase in eye pressure
  • Failure of the transplant

How soon will I recover?

You should be able to go home the same day or the day after.

The healthcare team will give you eye drops and sometimes medication to take home.

Do not swim or lift anything heavy until you have checked with your surgeon.

Regular exercise should help you to return to normal activities as soon as possible. Before you start exercising, ask the healthcare team or your GP for advice.

Most people make a good recovery.

It may take up to two years for your vision to improve. You may need to have an operation to change the shape of the cornea.

The healthcare team will arrange for you to come back to the clinic regularly so they can check that the transplant is healing well and for signs of rejection.

Why choose The London Clinic?

The London Clinic is dedicated to providing the best, personalised healthcare with over 600 world-renowned consultants available to offer informed health advice and treatment.

Spanning Harley Street and Devonshire Place, The London Clinic is situated in the heart of London’s internationally-known medical district. This central location, together with state-of-the art technologies and facilities that are not widely available in other hospitals, makes The London Clinic the hospital of choice for around 120,000 patients every year.

The London Clinic is an HTA licensed and JACIE accredited cancer centre with an ‘Excellent’ MacMillan Quality Environment Mark and with access to a Level 3 intensive care unit.

Offering affordable and competitive self-pay packages and expert support from Clinical Nurse Specialists and our specialised multidisciplinary team, over 98% of our patients said they would recommend The London Clinic to their friends and families.

TREATMENT COST

The London Clinic offers affordable, competitive self-pay packages for certain treatments. Please call +44 (0)20 3219 3315 to speak to our helpful team to find out more and to book an appointment.

Summary

Disease of the cornea is a common problem that causes the transparent outer layer of the front of your eye to become less clear. If other treatments do not help, a corneal transplant can be performed to improve your vision.

Disclaimer

The operation and treatment information on this website is published under license by The London Clinic from EIDO Healthcare UK and is protected by copyright laws. Other than for your personal, non-commercial use, you may not copy, print out, download or otherwise reproduce any of the information. The information should not replace advice that your relevant health professional would give you.

mEDICAL aDMISSIONS

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Facilitating acute admissions into The London Clinic whilst maintaining the highest levels of safety and care, supported by a consultant on-call rota.

Concierge service

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We can support our patients with travel, hotel accommodation, London tours, plus theatre and restaurant reservations.

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Main numbers

General enquiries: +44 (0) 207 935 4444 Appointments: +44 (0) 207 616 7693 Self-pay: +44 (0) 203 219 3315

Other numbers

Concierge service: +44 (0) 203 219 3323 International office: +44 (0) 203 219 3266 Invoice and payment enquiries: +44 (0) 207 616 7708

Your call may be recorded for training and monitoring purposes.

Medical service numbers

Breast services appointments: +44 (0) 207 616 7653 Diagnostics appointments: +44 (0) 207 616 7653 Endoscopy appointments: +44 (0) 207 616 7760 Eye centre appointments: +44 (0) 207 616 7768 Haematology appointments: +44 (0) 207 535 5503 Kidney services appointments: +44 (0) 207 224 5234 Liver services appointments: +44 (0) 207 616 7719 Physiotherapy appointments: +44 (0) 207 616 7651 Radiology appointments: +44 (0) 207 616 7653

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