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Cornea

Cornea Transplant Surgery

Batra Vision Medical Group is a leading eye care center for cornea transplant surgery in the Berkeley and East Bay area. Cornea transplant surgery is one of the most commonly performed transplantation procedures and has a high success rate. We take a great deal of time discussing corneal care at our offices in San Leandro and Berkeley and work with patients to determine the best treatment option available. In some cases, we can suggest alternative treatments to delay or perhaps even eliminate the need for a cornea transplant.

There are approximately 36,000 cornea transplant surgeries performed in the United Stated every year. Recent advances in surgical techniques have increased success rates, making the procedure even safer and more effective than before. Given the medical expertise of the eye doctors at Batra Vision Medical Group, you can rest assured you will receive exceptional treatment and care before and after your cornea transplant.

What is the Cornea?

The cornea is the clear front part of the eye that acts as the first step in focusing light onto the retina. A number of diseases and medical conditions can cause the cornea to become misshapen or cloudy resulting in impaired vision and in some cases blindness. In such cases, a cornea transplant can be performed to restore a patient’s vision.

What is Cornea Transplant Surgery?

Cornea transplant surgery refers to the replacement of a diseased cornea with a human donor cornea. The donated corneas come from a reputable eye bank and have been screened for any transmittable diseases.

An outpatient procedure that takes approximately one hour, cornea transplant surgery is performed at our offices serving the East Bay from San Leandro and Berkeley. The patient is placed under local anesthetic for the procedure. During the cornea transplant surgery, the old cornea is removed and replaced with the donor cornea. The donor cornea is held in place by stitches that will be removed during a later post-operative visit to our offices.

After cornea transplant surgery, the patient will experience some mild discomfort but will generally be able to return to work after three to four days. In a majority of cases, cornea transplant patients are not required to take anti-rejection medications following cornea transplant surgery.

What Results Can I Expect After Surgery?

Results following cornea transplant surgery will vary from patient to patient. Generally, a patient’s vision will be optimal approximately one year after cornea transplant surgery.

For the first few weeks to the first few months after cornea transplant surgery, you may notice a decline in your vision or vision fluctuations. This condition is normal. If you notice an improvement in vision during the first few weeks after surgery followed by a sudden decline in vision, you should contact our office.

Do I Need a Cornea Transplant?

Cornea transplant surgery is required to treat a variety of conditions that cause the degeneration, deformation, or clouding of the cornea. At our offices serving the Berkeley and East Bay area, we will go over various treatment plans with you to ensure you understand all of your eye care options.

The best way to determine if you require a cornea transplant is to schedule a consultation at our offices. During your eye exam and consultation, your doctor will discuss whether or not you require a cornea transplant and if there are alternative treatments that can correct your condition. We will help you make the most informed decision possible about your eye health.

Types of Corneal Disorders

Below are several corneal disorders that can be treated using cornea transplant surgery. In some cases, a patient may be able to delay or eliminate the need for a cornea transplant using a different treatment. When you visit our offices, we will discuss the various options available to you so you can make an informed decision concerning the health of your eyes.

Keratoconus

Keratoconus is an eye disease that often emerges in a person’s teenage years and becomes progressively worse over time. Keratoconus causes the cornea to thin over time. As the cornea becomes thinner, the eye’s internal pressure causes the cornea to bulge outward in an irregular cone-like shape, seriously affecting a patient’s vision.

Corneal Clouding

The clouding of the cornea is often a result of traumatic injury or trauma to the eye, hereditary or genetic disorders, eye surgery complications, and bacterial infection of corneal scars. The clouding of the cornea can lead to various levels of vision impairment depending on the severity of the clouding and the cause of the corneal clouding.

Corneal Dystrophies

Corneal dystrophies are a group of rare cornea disorders ranging in severity that often affect both of a person’s eyes. These disorders may be present as early as birth, but more generally these disorders develop during a person’s adolescence and progress throughout a person’s lifetime. Below are two of the more common types of corneal dystrophies.

Fuchs' Dystrophy

Fuchs’ dystrophy is a condition that affects the endothelium, the inner most layer of the cornea that is responsible for hydrating the cornea. Fuchs’ dystrophy occurs when the endothelial cells deteriorate for no apparent reason. Over time as more of the cells deteriorate, the endothelium becomes less efficient in hydrating the cornea and fails to pump water out. This causes the cornea to swell and a person’s vision to be impaired. If not treated, the epithelium, the outermost layer of the cornea, may take on water leading to severe pain and various forms of vision impairment.

Lattice Dystrophy

Though lattice dystrophy can develop at any time, the condition most commonly occurs in children between two to seven years old. It is a hereditary disorder in which abnormal protein fibers (amyloid deposits) accumulate throughout the stroma, the thickest layer of the cornea. Over time, these protein fibers create a lattice effect, gradually clouding the cornea and impairing a person’s vision. The fibers can also potentially accumulate under the epithelium causing it to deteriorate. The erosion of the epithelium can distort the curvature of the cornea leading to various vision problems and severe pain.

Corneal Edema

Corneal edema refers to the swelling of the cornea. While this should not be considered a diagnosis in itself, corneal edema is symptomatic of other cornea or eye disorders, including corneal dystrophies, contact lens disorders, eye trauma, or glaucoma.

Intacs Cornea Inserts

Patients with certain cornea problems do not necessarily need to undergo cornea transplant surgery. If a patient suffers from a condition known as keratoconus, the condition can be treated using prescription corneal inserts called Intacs. Our Oakland and East Bay area offices in San Leandro and Concord offer Intacs as a sensible solution to keratoconus.

 

About Keratoconus

Keratoconus is an eye disease that causes the cornea (the clear outer part of the eye) to thin over time. As the cornea becomes progressively thinner, the internal pressure of the eye causes the cornea to bulge outward in an irregular cone-like shape. Though keratoconus usually does not result in complete blindness, the condition can seriously affect a person’s vision and may require cornea transplant surgery.

In most cases, the condition emerges in a person’s teenage years and continues to worsen over time. Keratoconus stabilizes around the 30s and 40s and often affects both eyes. The cause of keratoconus is currently unknown, though some believe that the condition is genetic and could be made worse by a variety of environmental factors. The disease is often treated using rigid contact lenses that reshape the deformed cornea.


What are Intacs?

Intacs, available at our Oakland and East Bay area offices, are another treatment option for patients who can no longer treat keratoconus with contact lenses or glasses. These tiny prescription inserts help reshape the deformed cornea while correcting astigmatism and nearsightedness.

 


How do Intacs work?

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Intacs are placed in the periphery of the cornea, flattening the bulging cornea and restoring a natural, dome-like shape. By restoring the natural shape of the cornea, a patient’s vision is improved.

 

What results can I expect from Intacs?

The results of Intacs will vary from patient to patient given the unique nature of each patient’s eyes. When we use Intacs at our Oakland area offices, our main goals are to restore a patient’s functional vision and to delay or eliminate the need for a cornea transplant. In some cases, patients who receive Intacs no longer require the use of prescription lenses or glasses. If a cornea transplant is required in the future, patients with Intacs often experience no complications following surgery.

Are Intacs covered by insurance?

Coverage for Intacs will vary depending on your insurance provider. Our staff will assist you in receiving coverage for Intacs or will provide you with information on financing plans.

Corneal Crosslinking

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The KXL® System achieves Accelerated Cross-Linking in just minutes by increasing the UVA power and reducing the exposure time while maintaining the same total energy on the eye as standard cross-linking. It is the first and only cross-linking system manufactured with:

  • Accelerated Cross-Linking with pulsed or continuous wave illumination
  • The highest power available, up to 45 mW/cm2
  • Superior top hat beam profile, precise depth of focus
  • Wireless control for beam alignment in the X, Y and Z axes
  • Fully-integrated stable delivery platform
  • Touch screen programming and operation
  • Untethered battery operation for enhanced mobility

Procedures performed with the KXL System include Accelerated Cross-Linking and Lasik Xtra®. These procedures have the potential to:

  • Enhance LASIK surgery outcomes
  • Restore corneal strength
  • Halt progression of keratoconus and ectasia
  • Slow or eliminate the development of acute keratoconus

KXL was recently approved by the FDA. Batra Vision will be among the first providers in the USA to perform KXL.

To schedule a consultation in the Oakland, East Bay, San Leandro, and Concord area, contact us at Batra Vision Medical Group today.