Corneal transplants are one of the most successful forms of transplantation because there isn’t the same degree of rejection. The average wait for a donated cornea is around 9 months.
There are about 1000 corneal transplants in Australia each year, with half of those being in NSW. Keratoconus is the main reason for the procedure needing to be performed, however there are other diseases of the cornea that can lead to a transplant.
I actually perform cornea transplants in the Vision Eye institute day surgery at Chatswood. It involves replacing the diseased part of the cornea with a donor cornea. This procedure uses sutures as fine as a human hair.
The operation itself takes around 60 minutes, and recovery time varies, but people can usually get back to their everyday lives within 14 days. Full recovery takes up to a year.
A/Prof Colin Chan explains what a cornea transplant is.
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