Please find below answers to some commonly asked questions about corneal grafts.
Will I see clearly after the operation?
For the first few months after the operation, your vision will fluctuate. This is part of the healing process and you should not expect to have immediate, clear, useful sight.
Your ophthalmologist may prescribe either glasses or a contact lens (a lens fitting on the outside of the cornea), although even these will not be prescribed until some months after the operation. This is because the cornea takes a long time – often at least a year – to heal completely, which is also why the stitches are left in for up to 18 months.
What are donor eyes?
‘Donor eyes’ are eyes which have been removed from a person who has died. Consent for use of the corneas in transplantation will have been obtained from the donor prior to death, or the donor’s family.
How do I know the donated cornea is not infected and that I won’t catch anything?
Corneas are not taken from donors known to have infectious conditions. All donors are screened for carriers of HIV/AIDS or Hepatitis viruses before their corneas are used. The cornea is treated with antibiotic solution before being used for your operation.
Will the colour of my eye change?
No. The colour of your eye is determined by the iris, surrounding the pupil of the eye, not the cornea. You may, however, notice the stitches as a different colour until they are removed.
Can I continue to drive?
The law requires you to inform the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), and your insurance company, of any change in health or sight likely to affect the safety of your driving. You must be able to read a number plate at 20.3 metres (25 yards) in good daylight and with spectacles if worn. You must also have an adequate field of vision. To drive when unable to meet both these requirements is a criminal act and invalidates insurance. Inability to meet standards requires you to notify the DVLA. You should not restart driving until you have had confirmation that your vision meets the standards. A report may be requested from your ophthalmologist. Standards are more stringent for vocational drivers. For further information, please contact the DVLA.
I have been told a corneal graft may help me. How do I get a consultation for a possible graft?
If you have been told by your ophthalmologist, GP or optometrist that a corneal graft may help your condition, ask your GP to refer you into a corneal specialist, who will be able to tell you whether or not you would be suitable for a graft.