Corneal transplantation, also known as corneal grafting, is a surgical procedure where a damaged or diseased cornea is replaced by donated corneal tissue (the graft) in its entirety (penetrating keratoplasty) or in part (lamellar keratoplasty). The graft is removed from a recently deceased individual with no known diseases or other factors that may affect the viability of the donated tissue or the health of the recipient.
The surgical procedure is performed by ophthalmologists, and is often done on an outpatient basis. The corneal transplantation is performed when medicines, keratoconus conservative surgery and cross-linking can not heal the cornea anymore.
There are many conditions that can affect the clarity of the entire cornea. For instance, trauma or injury to the cornea can cause scarring, as can infections (especially herpes keratitis). A hereditary condition called Fuchs’ dystrophy causes corneal failure. Keratoconus causes a steep curving of the cornea. Sometimes corneal failure can occur after an eye surgery such as cataract surgery. A corneal transplant is needed if vision cannot be corrected satisfactorily with eyeglasses or contact lenses, or if painful swelling cannot be relieved by medications or special contact lenses.