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Corneal Transplants

Beverly Hills, California

A corneal transplant is done to restore fading vision and is one of the most commonly-performed transplants in the U.S. The cornea is the clear part in front of the eye – it is transparent, letting light through into the eye. If anything mars its clearness, the patient’s vision will be impaired.

Light passes through the cornea and then through the pupil (the opening in the center of the colored iris). The light then passes through the lens. The cornea, and to a lesser extent the lens, bend or refract the light and cause it to focus on the retina. The retina is the back interior surface of the eye, and contains a great many light-sensitive cells. The light carries image information and this forms a small inverted image on the retina.

The retinal light-sensitive cells convert it to electrical information, and the large optic nerve carries it to the brain’s vision center. The brain then interprets it.

Conditions requiring corneal transplants

If the cornea for some reason becomes obstructed or opaque, and less able to allow all light into the eye, we lose our vision, partially or fully. This may happen from:

  • Keratoconus – a bulging forward of the cornea (and for keratoconus, Intacs would be another treatment option, depending on the severity of the patient’s condition)
  • Scarring – after an infection such as herpes or after an injury
  • Heredity – inherited corneal problems such as Fuch’s cornea
  • LASIK complications – which are very rare
  • Corneal clouding or swelling

How a corneal transplant is done

The new cornea comes from a donor, via an eye bank. It is thoroughly tested for complete clarity and freedom from any viruses. The recipient will usually have certain tests performed and will be given a complete physical.

The corneal transplant procedure is an outpatient procedure, and it is done with anesthetic eyedrops to eliminate any discomfort for the patient. There is also an optional oral sedative to help deal with any feelings of apprehension. A corneal transplant takes between approximately 45 and 75 minutes, but most patients spend the whole morning here. There is some time required for preparation beforehand, and more time needed for monitoring afterwards. Dr. Khanna will measure your eye and carefully remove the defective cornea. The new cornea is sutured into position and Dr. Khanna will place an eye shield immediately afterwards to protect your eyes.


After a short rest in our comfortable office, you can return home. You will need to have arranged for someone to drive you. There will be a follow-up exam the next day at our offices, and several more follow-up visits at longer intervals. Dr. Khanna will prescribe some eyedrops ahead of time so you can have them ready. Based on his findings in your follow-up visits, he will determine when to remove the stitches, and this is typically not for several months.

Here are some important tips to help you have a successful recovery period:

  • Be sure not to rub or press on your eye
  • If necessary you can use an over-the-counter pain medication
  • Use the eyedrops exactly as directed. There will be antibiotic drops to prevent infection and anti-rejection drops to help your body accept the new cornea
  • Wear eye protection according to Dr. Khanna’s instructions
  • You may resume normal activities in about three to seven days, but it will be best to avoid any exercise at that stage
  • Dr. Khanna will let you know when you can resume driving

When the sutures have been removed and you are fully recovered, you might find that there is some nearsightedness and astigmatism. Dr. Khanna would advise you on your options in this regard, and may prescribe either glasses or rigid contact lenses.

Please see our Keratoconus Questions and Keratoconus Symptoms pages for more information. Our office is proud to serve Los Angeles and the surrounding areas. If you would like to schedule a personal consultation, please call us or send an email. We look forward to meeting with you.

If you are interested in keratoconus but are unsure which treatment is best for you, call or email to schedule your consultation with Dr. Khanna at the Khanna Institute today.


Dr. Khanna serves eye care patients in Los Angeles, Beverly Hills and Orange County, California. This site is for informational purposes about keratoconus causes and prevention only. It is not intended to be medical advice for those seeking keratoconus treatment, but to provide information about the Los Angeles, California LASIK Surgeon, Doctor Rajesh Khanna, M.D.