A cornea transplant involves removing diseased tissue and replacing it with healthy tissue from another individual. The main reason for the transplant is poor vision due to reduced transparency of the cornea. The procedure may also reduce pain or relieve other symptoms caused by corneal disease.
St. Erik Eye Hospital performs more corneal transplants than any other eye clinic in Sweden. Surgeries include various lamellar techniques.
The corneal tissue is donated by a deceased individual. The deceased's consent to donate has been obtained from the donation register or through the instructions of relatives. St. Erik Eye Hospital manages a cornea bank where donated corneas are stored for transplantation.
Several quality checks are carried out before the tissue can be approved. The deceased must not have had any communicable diseases, and the cornea must be sterile tested and of good quality. The cornea is stored in a tissue bank until all tests are completed. After a couple of weeks of storage, it then can be used.
Unlike, for example, kidney or liver transplantation, the risk of rejection in cornea transplants is minor due to the cornea lacking its own vessels. Therefore, as a rule, we do not need to match donor and recipient, and the patient also does not need to receive strong immunosuppressive medications. However, this does not mean that the new cornea cannot be rejected, and eye drop treatment with cortisone is absolutely necessary for at least a year followin the transplant.