Corneal transplantation FAQs - Vision Eye Institute
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Corneal transplantation FAQs


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What is the cornea?

The cornea is the clear, protective outer layer of the eye. Shaped like a dome, it protects the eye from foreign bodies. The cornea plays an important role in vision by refracting (bending) light entering the eye to help focus it on the retina. While minor abrasions tend to heal quickly, deeper corneal injuries can cause scarring.

Where does the donor for a corneal transplant come from?

Almost anyone can donate their corneas or other parts of their eyes.

Unlike organ donation, age and blood type are not factors in determining the suitability of a cornea donor. Neither is donor eye colour. Donated corneas are tested to make sure they are free from disease and damage. People with severe infections or diseases such as HIV and hepatitis cannot donate their corneas.

Individuals can register with the Australian Organ Donor Register or tell their next of kin they wish to become a donor.

What are the risks of a corneal transplant?

Corneal transplants have a high success rate.1 But there are potential complications, including the risk of an eye infection, swelling, bleeding or a cataract developing. Rejection occurs in approximately 20% of cases, often as the result of a new injury or illness.2

How long does a corneal transplant take?

A corneal transplant is performed as a day procedure and the operation itself takes about an hour. Recovery is gradual and it may take up to a year before you see the full results.

Do you offer payment plans?

Payment plans can be used to access consultations, treatment and surgery at all Vision Eye Institute Clinics and Vision Hospital Group day surgeries.

Vision Eye Institute patients can access a plan to suit their needs through one of the following options.*

  • LatitudePay for services up to $1,000 – interest free, ten weekly payments, no account fees, fast approval
  • LatitudePay+ for services up to $10,000 – interest free, flexible repayment period (6 or 12 months), low monthly account fee, fast approval

*Approved customers only. Before applying for any form of credit, always read the full terms and conditions.

References and further reading

General resources

  1. Waldock et al. Commentary: Corneal transplantation: how successful are we?. Br J Ophthalmol 2000;84:813–815. Available from: ↩︎

  2. Tan et al. Corneal transplantation: Lancet. 2012 May 5;379(9827):1749-61. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(12)60437-1. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(12)60437-1 ↩︎

The information on this page is general in nature. All medical and surgical procedures have potential benefits and risks. Consult your ophthalmologist for specific medical advice.

Date last reviewed: 2022-01-25 | Date for next review: 2024-01-25

IMPORTANT: If you are concerned about your eyes and require an urgent consultation, DO NOT use this form. Please call one of our clinics during office hours or contact your nearest emergency department.

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