The cornea is the clear window at the front of your eye. If the cornea has previously been damaged or has a disease, the only treatment option may be a corneal transplant.
There are several different types of corneal transplants which can be used depending on your condition. The surgery can be done using a local or general anaesthetic and you can return home the same day of surgery.
This means replacing the full thickness of the cornea. The operation involves removing the scarred cornea and placing a new donor cornea back into the eye.
DALK - DEEP ANTERIOR LAMELLAR KERATOPLASTY
DALK operations involve replacing all layers of the cornea except the inner most layer of endothelial cells.
DMEK - DESCEMET MEMBRANE ENDOTHELIAL KERATOPLASTY
DMEK involves replacing a very delicate membrane and cells on the inside of the cornea only. This layer is only a 100th of a mm thick but is very important for keeping the cornea clear. For conditions such as Fuchs’ Dystrophy, this operation provides the best vision outcomes with a lower risk of graft rejection, compared to other transplant techniques.
DSAEK - DESCEMET STRIPPING AUTOMATED ENDOTHELIAL KERATOPLASTY
Like DMEK, DSAEK involves replacing the inner layer of cells on the cornea. DSAEK uses a slightly thicker layer of tissue.
A pterygium is where the conjunctiva (the white part of the eye) begins to grow on to the clear cornea at the front of the eye. These are very common in New Zealand and are generally caused by UV light. Ptyergium can be uncomfortable for some people, and can cause problems with vision if it starts to grow towards the centre of the eye.
Ptyergium surgery involves removing this growth and gently gluing a graft in place, which prevents the pterygium from growing back. The surgery can be performed under local anaesthetic and does not require a hospital stay.
THE GIFT OF SIGHT - EYE DONATION
Being an organ donor is a heroic act and gifting your eyes to medicine and science after you have died allows you the chance to save the eyesight of one or more people. Not only does eye donation allow for much needed cornea transplants in New Zealand, but you may even help change the lives of countless others who benefit from eye tissue and eye research.
For more information about being an eye donor, please contact the NZ National Eye Bank Trust coordinator www.eyebank.org.nz. For valuable information about organ donation and to register, please visit www.donor.co.nz and ensure you have expressed your wishes to your family.
CORNEAL TRANSPLANT NEWS
TARANAKI EYE CENTRE - WEYMOUTH
17 Weymouth Street
New Plymouth 4310
(cnr Weymouth St & St Aubyn St)
TARANAKI EYE CENTRE - DEVON W
429 Devon St West Street
New Plymouth 4310
(mobility parking onsite, general parking at Lynmouth Park)
TARANAKI EYE CENTRE - HAWERA
47 Waihi Road
(inside South Taranaki Specialist Clinic)
Phone: (06) 758 3553
Taranaki Eye Centre - Weymouth is open
Mon - Fri 8:30am - 5pm
Other clinics are by appointment only