As in any kind of surgery, many different complications can occur. One unique to corneal transplantation is rejection of the donated tissue. Cornea transplants are rejected five to 30 percent of the time and can occur any time after cornea transplantation. The rejected cornea clouds and vision deteriorates. The warning signs of cornea graft rejection are RSVP:
» Redness – graft rejection may be associated with a red eye
» Sensitivity – to light, any increase from your baseline
» Vision – decrease in vision, especially if foggy or cloudy
» Pain – discomfort, irritation or foreign body sensation
If YOU ARE EXPERIENCING ANY ONE OF THESE WARNING SIGNS, YOU MUST IMMEDIATELY CONTACT YOUR OPHTHALMOLOGIST AND SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT TO BE SEEN WITHIN 24 HOURS, EVEN IF MANY YEARS HAVE PASSED SINCE THE ORIGINAL CORNEA TRANSPLANT SURGERY!
Most rejections, if detected and treated promptly, can be reversed with minimal injury.
CORNEA GRAFT REJECTION HANDOUT:
All cornea transplant patients are required to print, read and keep this document for future reference.
Never discard this important document! Be informed! If the transplanted cornea fails, the graft may be replaced with a new donor, usually with good results, but the overall rejection rates for repeated transplants are higher than for the first transplant.
Other possible complications listed below can usually be treated and include:
» retina swelling or detachment
» irregular astigmatism
After uncomplicated Corneal Transplantation, vision may continue to improve up to a year or more after surgery. If the surgery is successful, other existing eye conditions, such as macular degeneration, glaucoma, or diabetic retinopathy, may limit vision after surgery. Even with such problems, a corneal transplant may still be worthwhile.