HEALTHY LIVING: Cornea Transplants


WHEN THE WINDSHIELD ON YOUR VEHICLE CRACKS
OR GETS CLOUDY FROM TINY SCRAPES AND SCRATCHES, YOU REPLACE IT. IT’S NOT THAT MUCH DIFFERENT
WHEN IT COMES TO THE WINDSHIELD OF YOUR EYE, THE CORNEA. THE CORNEA IS THE CLEAR LAYER
THAT COVERS YOUR PUPIL AND ALLOWS LIGHT TO PASS THROUGH THE LENS TO THE RETINA. IT’S
RESPONSIBLE FOR 65 TO 75 PERCENT OF THE EYE’S TOTAL FOCUSING POWER. IT ALSO ACTS AS A BARRIER
AGAINST DIRT, GERMS AND OTHER PARTICLES THAT CAN HARM INSIDE THE EYE. AND IT FILTERS OUT
ULTRAVIOLET LIGHT FROM THE SUN WHICH CAN HARM THE INNER LENS AND RETINA. WHEN THE CORNEA
IS DAMAGED, SCARRED, MISSHAPEN OR PLAGUED BY ULCERS,YOU LOSE YOUR FOCUSING POWER AND
THE AMOUNT OF LIGHT MAY REDUCED, CAUSING VISION PROBLEMS. THAT’S WHEN YOU MAY WANT TO CONSIDER
A CORNEAL TRANSPLANT. THERE ARE CERTAIN DISEASE PROCESSES THAT YOU’RE
BORN WITH THAT YOU NEED TO HAVE A CORNEAL TRANSPLANT AT SOME POINT IN THE FUTURE. AND
THERE’RE OTHER THINGS THAT HAPPEN AFTER SURGERY, OR INJURIES THAT WILL REQUIRE CORNEA TRANSPLANTS
TO GET THE BEST VISION POSSIBLE IN THE FUTURE MORE THAN 45,000 PEOPLE A YEAR UNDER GO CORNEAL
TRANSPLANTS USING CORNEAS HARVESTED FROM AN ORGAN DONOR. ARTIFICIAL CORNEAS MADE FROM
PLASTIC ARE AVAILABLE, BUT MOST COME FROM HUMAN EYES, AND THE NUMBER OF AVAILABLE DONORS
IS DECLINING BECAUSE OF THE POPULARITY OF LASIK SURGERY, WHICH WEAKENS THE STRUCTURE
OF THE CORNEA. NEVERTHELESS, THE OUTPATIENT PROCEDURE IS FAIRLY SIMPLE AND CAN INVOLVE
REPLACING JUST THE DAMAGED LAYERS OF THE CORNEA OR THE WHOLE LENS. IF YOU REPLACE THE ENTIRE THING, YOU CUT OUT
A CENTER, THE CENTER, AND YOU CUT OUT THE CENTER FROM THE DONOR AND THEN YOU DO A BUNCH
OF STITCHES AND YOU PUT IT BACK ON. THEY’RE FAIRLY SUCCESSFUL. THE ONE THING THAT’S, YOU
KNOW, ALWAYS ON THE, THE REASON THAT THEY FAIL, IS GENERALLY FROM REJECTION, WHICH COMES
FROM ANY ORGAN TRANSPLANT. USUALLY WITH DROPS AND DIFFERENT THINGS, YOU CAN KIND OF KEEP
THAT TO A MINIMUM. BUT IT’S ALWAYS A RISK. THE ONES THAT JUST DO THOSE CERTAIN LAYERS
OF THE EYE HAVE A LOWER RISK OF REJECTION, WHEREAS THE ONES THAT HAVE A, WHERE YOU DO
THE FULL THICKNESS ONES, HAVE A HIGHER RISK OF REJECTION BUT, THEY’RE STILL FAIRLY SUCCESSFUL
EITHER WAY IF YOU’D LIKE TO KNOW MORE ABOUT CORNEAL TRANSPLANTS,
GET IN TOUCH WITH DOCTOR SMITH AT S W EYE CONSULTANTS DOT COM. I’M DEBORAH URODA FOR
HEALTHY LIVING.

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