• Is cataract surgery problematic due to my corneal transplant?


    Question:

    I am 65 and I had a corneal graft (corneal transplant) in my left eye in 1990 due to keratoconus. I have keratoconus in my right eye as well. Recently both eyes developed early cataract. The left eye, which I rely on, developed poor night vision. So I now need a cataract operation. My worry is about the graft health after the operation. Is this a valid concern?


    Answer:

    Yes it is a valid concern. There is a risk that the cataract surgery could cause some cell loss in the corneal graft and can even lead to graft failure. The likelihood of this happening depends on the condition of the corneal graft before the cataract operation. One test that can be done to get some idea of the risk is a corneal cell count. If the cell count is already low before the cataract surgery then the chances of graft failure is higher. However, if you have a significant cataract that is affecting your vision you will need to have it taken care of regardless of the risk to the cornea. If you do have a corneal problem after cataract surgery it can be treated with a repeat corneal transplant or a newer type of operation, which transplants only the cells of the back of the cornea. The recovery from this type of operation is much quicker than a complete corneal transplant, which transplants all layers of the cornea.


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