Cornea Transplant Recovery 

Close up of man's blue eyeA cornea transplant can restore your ability to see, but it is an invasive procedure which requires a lengthy recovery process. Cornea transplant recovery can take up to a year for patients who have had their entire cornea replaced. However, you should be able to return to work within a week and regular activities shortly thereafter. To ensure a successful recovery, it is essential that you follow your doctor's post-operative instructions, including medications and taking certain precautions.

How Long Is the Recovery? 

Your recovery timeline will depend on the type of cornea transplant surgery you need. While some patients only need some layers of their corneal tissue replaced, those who undergo a full transplant will require a longer recovery time. Patients can generally expect the recovery to take from several months to a year. You will usually be cleared to return to work about a week after surgery and can gradually resume more strenuous activities over several months.

Necessary Precautions

To prevent complications, it is necessary to follow several precautions:

Use Prescribed Medications

Woman applying eyedropsYou may be instructed to use medicated eye drops throughout your recovery. It is important that you administer them as prescribed to help prevent infection and other complications.

Minimize Activity Levels

For the first four to six weeks, you should avoid strenuous exercise such as lifting weights. It is recommended to wait about six to nine months before participating in more extensive activities such as swimming or contact sports.

Wear Proper Eye Protection

The doctor may provide you with an eye shield following your procedure. It should be worn while sleeping to prevent rubbing the eye. Additionally, you should wear sunglasses when you are outside to avoid harmful ultraviolet light, dust, and other debris.

Ongoing Checkups

The day after surgery, you will return to your doctor so they can check the surgical site. At this time you can also address any questions or concerns you may have. Throughout the recovery period, you will need to attend regular checkups to monitor the healing process. Your doctor will also evaluate your vision periodically and check for signs of complications. 

Expected Results

Your vision will gradually become more clear following a successful cornea transplant. Typically, patients begin to see an improvement a few weeks into their recovery. However, your eyesight may remain blurry for several months.

It is essential that you follow your doctor's post-operative instructions, including medications and taking certain precautions.

Due to the addition of corneal tissue, some degree of myopia and astigmatism often occur. In most cases, this can be easily corrected with glasses or contacts. Once your vision is stable, your doctor can help you find the right prescription for clear vision. When the eye has completely healed and stitches have been removed, you may consider laser eye surgery such as LASIK or PRK (photorefractive keratectomy) to reduce your reliance on corrective eyewear. 

Warning Signs of Complications

Infection, retinal detachment, and rejection are rare complications associated with corneal transplant. Common warning signs of complications may include:

  • Increasing pain
  • Light sensitivity
  • Redness
  • Sudden vision impairment  
  • Ongoing inflammation

It is not abnormal to experience some degree of discomfort during your recovery. However, it is important that you notify your doctor immediately if you are experiencing any of these issues. 

Helping You Achieve a Successful Recovery

Your doctor is an invaluable resource throughout your recovery. If you are experiencing concerning symptoms or have questions about the healing process, do not hesitate to schedule a consultation today. 

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