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Healing From Cornea Surgery: What to Expect

Healing From Cornea Surgery: What to Expect

Your cornea is the clear protective covering on the outside of your eye. If it’s been damaged from an eye disease, inherited condition, injury, or infection, you may need a partial or full replacement cornea. Without it, you could lose some or all of your vision. 

Board-certified ophthalmologist Dr. Stephen Khachikian performs various types of cornea surgery, and lets you know what type of surgery you need and what your recovery is going to be like. Taking care of your eye after the operation is critical to proper healing, and you receive complete instructions. 

Following is a brief outline of what to expect after cornea surgery. 

Care of your eye after cornea surgery 

You play a starring role in your recovery from cornea surgery. Keep these helpful tips in mind. 

Take extra precautions

First and foremost, be extra careful at home. Before your procedure, remove throw rugs — they’re tripping hazards — and ensure you have a clear path from one room to another. Place items you use regularly within easy reach. 

Don’t plan any big trips right after cornea surgery. You want to rest and let your eye heal properly. Take a break from sports. Why risk your eyesight? 

Use eyeglasses for protection

You should place no pressure on your eye, and you might have a shield over it post-procedure to help you remember not to touch it or rub it. If you normally wear glasses, continue wearing them for eye protection. 

Take medications as prescribed 

Dr. Khachikian prescribes medicated eye drops that you take as directed every day, possibly for months. They help ensure that the new corneal tissue stays healthy. Consider your eyedrops a lifeline that you can’t lose. Keep them in one place so you always know where they are. 

Sleeping at night

Depending on your surgery, Dr. Khachikian may tell you to sleep on your back at night for a while so you don’t put pressure on your new cornea when turning onto your side. Extra pillows can help. We let you know when you can resume sleeping in different positions.

Returning to work 

Dr. Khachikian can tell you when you’re OK to return to work. If you have a desk job, you can likely get back to your computer within a week or a little longer. If you have a job in an environment that is dusty or dirty, such as a warehouse, your work life is impacted to a greater degree.

Follow-up appointments

Expect to have regular follow-up appointments with Dr. Khachikian after cornea surgery. Mark them on your calendar and make them a priority. 

Your vision after cornea surgery 

If you have a partial or full cornea transplant, the new tissue, whether from a donor or prosthetic, needs to settle into place. Accordingly, your vision won’t be picture-perfect right away. It can take several weeks or months for the top layer of your cornea to heal. 

As your eye heals, your vision may be different in the eye where surgery was performed. That’s not unusual. Glasses or contacts can narrow the discrepancy. If you have an astigmatism when your eye heals, we can correct it. 

We can’t know for certain how your body is going to accept a transplant even if you’ve met all of the criteria for surgery. Medications help retain your cornea if problems occur. 

Each person responds to a partial or full cornea transplant differently. Almost all cases go smoothly, and most patients report good vision over a number of years. 

Call Dr. Stephen Khachikian in Rapid City, South Dakota, or book an appointment online today if you experience a change in your eyesight that requires surgery. We can help preserve your vision.

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