Penetrating Keratoplasty (PKP) (Full Thickness Corneal Transplant)


The first corneal transplant was performed in 1905. Over the last twenty years, however, there have been tremendous advances in development of microsurgical techniques and medications to prevent rejection of the transplant. In fact, because of these advances, corneal transplantation has become the most successful type of tissue transplantation surgery performed today.

The cornea is the clear tissue in front of the pupil and iris. You are actually looking through the cornea when you see the pupil, just as you would look through a window. Like a foggy window loss of transparency of the cornea will reduce vision. Clouding of the cornea can be related to many factors. Injury, infection, congenital disorders and aging are major reasons for loss of corneal clarity.

It is important to understand that even after successful surgery the corneal transplant requires considerable time to adjust to its new environment. Therefore your vision may not begin to improve for several months and sometimes longer (up to a year). After the transplant has healed and the appropriate number of sutures have been removed, spectacles or a contact lens may be required to achieve your best vision.

Penetrating keratoplasty is an involved procedure that requires long term attention and follow up. For the vast majority of our patients whose vision has been restored by corneal transplantation, the effort has proven to be well worthwhile.