As a corneal specialist, Dr. Klein has performed a high volume of corneal transplants. Such transplants are major surgeries which may become necessary in patients who have opaque scarring on the cornea (as might occur from trauma), severe keratoconus not amenable to other interventions, or complications from previous surgery.
On the left side is a picture of a scarred cornea. On the right is the same eye after corneal transplant. Small black stiches can be seen holding the transplant in place.
Corneal Transplant surgery involves removing the central area of a patient's cornea and replacing it with a donor's cornea. The surgery is a same-day procedure that takes about one hour. Once the damaged cornea is removed, the surgeon stitches the transplanted cornea in place. It can be performed either with local anesthesia and a mild intravenous sedative or under general anesthesia.
An eye patch and shield are used to protect the eye after surgery, but removed the next day at the post-operative appointment. This shield is used at night to protect the eye from rubbing. Patients are asked to limit strenuous physical activities until healing has occurred. Subsequent clinic visits are scheduled to assess healing and remove the sutures. Recovery is longer than with other eye surgeries, sometimes taking up to one year to obtain good vision.
Corneal transplants are performed at both Saint Barnabas Hospital in Livingston and Trinitas Hospital in Elizabeth.