You’ve learned that you need cornea surgery. There are numerous reasons why your cornea needs repair or replacement — you may have keratoconus, which means your cornea has become abnormally shaped; your cornea might be swollen or torn; or you might have a corneal ulcer.
Board-certified ophthalmologist Dr. Stephen Khachikian diagnoses and treats all cornea problems at his practice in Rapid City, South Dakota. If you need surgery, he explains why and determines which of several procedures is the best option for you.
You no doubt have questions you want to ask about the surgery, many of which are automatically answered in the instruction sheet we give you during your pre-surgical consultation. We provide a thorough guide for how to prepare in the days and weeks prior to the surgery, what to do on the day of surgery, and instructions for dos and don’ts after the surgery.
Here are some common questions patients ask when they find out they need cornea surgery. Covering them with your ophthalmologist before your procedure helps give you peace of mind.
What is the success rate of cornea surgery?
There are many types of corneal surgery, and their success rates are high. Dr. Khachikian explains why the surgical method he’s selected is the best option for you.
The rejection rate of a cornea transplant can be 10% depending on the type of transplant. The good news is that rejection can often be controlled with medication.
You may require only superficial tissue removal to repair a cornea. For example, Dr. Khachikian may decide on photo-therapeutic keratectomy for a cornea that needs repair to its outer surface.
Dr. Khachikian also performs different types of corneal transplants. If the front and innermost layers are damaged, your entire cornea needs replacement. If the surface and middle layer are damaged, or if only the innermost layer is damaged, you have a partial thickness transplant.
IntraLase® enabled keratoplasty (IEK) uses a laser to replace your cornea. A deep anterior lamellar keratoplasty only removes the outer part of your cornea before placing the donor material.
Your pre-surgery consultation is the best time to ask questions about what your procedure entails and to address any concerns you have about it.
Are there side effects of cornea surgery?
You may experience a few temporary side effects from a corneal transplant. They include:
- Redness in your eye
- Light sensitivity
- Eye floaters
- Some discomfort
If you have any side effects after your procedure, be sure to follow up with Dr. Khachikian.
The risk for glaucoma sometimes increases after a corneal transplant. You need to follow up regularly with Dr. Khachikian after a corneal transplant to ensure your continued eye health.
How long is the recovery from cornea surgery?
Recovery depends on the type of corneal surgery you have. For example, recovery from pterygium removal (a cornea that’s too thick) takes on average about one month. Full recovery from a corneal transplant can take up to a year.
You’ll see Dr. Khachikian the day after surgery and for follow-up appointments as your eye heals.
Do you have questions about cornea surgery? Call Dr. Stephen Khachikian or book an appointment online today for expert eye care to preserve your vision.