Cornea transplant, also known as corneal grafting or keratoplasty is a remarkable surgical procedure that aims to restore vision in individuals suffering from corneal diseases or damage. This procedure involves replacing the damaged or diseased cornea with a healthy cornea obtained from a deceased donor, enabling the patient to regain clear vision and improve their quality of life. With advancements in surgical techniques and medical technology, cornea transplants have become highly successful and offer renewed hope to those in need.
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The cornea is the transparent front part of the eye that covers the iris, pupil, and anterior chamber. It plays a crucial role in focusing light onto the retina, allowing us to see clearly. However, various conditions can lead to corneal damage, such as infections, injuries, inherited disorders, or complications from previous eye surgeries. When the cornea becomes cloudy or distorted, vision impairment occurs, affecting daily activities and overall well-being.
Fortunately, cornea transplants have proven to be a life-changing solution for patients facing corneal problems that cannot be resolved through other treatments like medication or corrective lenses. During the procedure, a skilled ophthalmologist carefully removes the damaged cornea and replaces it with a healthy donor cornea. The donated cornea is meticulously evaluated and matched to the patient’s specific requirements to enhance the chances of successful transplantation and minimize the risk of rejection.
There are different types of cornea transplant techniques available, including penetrating keratoplasty (PKP), deep anterior lamellar keratoplasty (DALK), and endothelial keratoplasty (EK). The choice of procedure depends on the nature and extent of the corneal condition, and the ophthalmologist’s expertise.
Penetrating keratoplasty involves removing the full thickness of the patient’s cornea and replacing it with a donor cornea. This technique is commonly used for conditions affecting the full thickness of the cornea, such as advanced keratoconus or corneal scarring.
Deep anterior lamellar keratoplasty, on the other hand, involves replacing only the front layers of the cornea, while leaving the patient’s innermost layer intact. This technique is ideal for cases where the inner layer of the cornea, called the endothelium, remains healthy.
Endothelial keratoplasty is a newer technique that focuses on replacing only the diseased or damaged endothelial layer of the cornea. This method promotes faster healing, reduces the risk of complications, and provides better visual outcomes for certain conditions like Fuchs’ dystrophy and endothelial dysfunction.
Cornea transplants have a high success rate, with many patients experiencing significant vision improvement following the surgery. However, it is essential to note that individual outcomes may vary depending on factors such as the patient’s overall eye health, pre-existing conditions, and post-operative care.
After the transplant, patients will need to follow a strict regimen of eye drops, medications, and regular check-ups to monitor the healing process and prevent complications. It is crucial to adhere to the prescribed medications and post-operative care instructions provided by the ophthalmologist to maximize the chances of a successful outcome.
The field of cornea transplant surgery continues to advance, with ongoing research focused on improving surgical techniques, donor tissue preparation, and minimizing.
How much does a Cornea transplant cost in India?
Cornea transplant cost in India is around USD 1500 on average and most patients do not have to stay for more than a day in the hospital. The cost of a cornea transplant in India is far less than the cost for the same in other countries, such as the USA, UK, Germany and more. The overall cost of surgery may vary depending on several factors such as the location and quality of the hospital, room category, the experience of the surgeon, additional complications, and others.
Which are the best hospitals for cornea transplants in India?
Some of the best eye transplant hospitals in India include:
- Fortis Memorial Research Institute
- Apollo Hospital, Delhi
- Max Healthcare Hospital, Delhi
- Blk Super Speciality Hospital, Delhi
- Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital, Mumbai
- Wockhardt Hospital, Mumbai
- Medanta Hospital, Gurgaon
- Artemis Hospital, Gurgaon
- BGS Gleneagles Global Hospital, Bangalore
- Narayana Multispeciality Hospital, Gurgaon
Risks Associated With A Cornea Transplant?
While a cornea transplant is an otherwise safe surgery without any life-threatening risks associated with the treatment, there can be quite a few side effects. Post-surgery complications include –
- Eye infections
- Infection in stitches
- Retinal Issues
- Deterioration in retinal condition
- Corneal Rejection
- Pain in the Eye
- Loss of Vision
- Increased Sensitivity to Light
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What Factors Can Affect The Cost Of A Cornea Transplant In India?
The rate for an eye cornea transplant depends on certain factors that include aspects like the surgeon and the consulting doctor the patient chooses, the location and the facilities offered by the hospital, and more.
Location Of The Hospital And Its Facilities: The average cost of cornea transplants for medical tourists, as well as local patients, is directly linked with the location and the type of the hospital you choose. A private multi-specialty hospital offers comprehensive care and treatment solutions, so the prices are higher than a government establishment. Similarly, cornea transplant rates in metro cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Chennai are also on the higher end.
Duration Of The Stay At The Hospital: Hospital bills are calculated daily, so the average cost of a cornea transplant depends on the duration of the patient’s stay. If the doctor finds other issues, the patient might have to prolong their stay to get treated, but eye surgery like a Cornea transplant usually gets completed in a single day. So the patient can come home and save on medical fees.
Medical Insurance: If the patient already has insurance coverage for a cornea transplant in India, the overall cost can be drastically reduced. The patient only needs to pay the bare minimum or nothing at all.
The Location Of The Patient: If the patient chooses to get the surgery in their hometown, the rates for all the associated activities, including port operative care, get reduced. On the other hand, if the patient needs to travel to a far location, the travel charges can increase the overall costs significantly.
Quantity And Dosage Of Medicine: Though a cornea transplant does not involve any endangering life risks, the patient needs to follow a strict medical diet and take medicines like tabs and eye drops. The average cost of a transplant can go up if the quantity, price, and dosage of the meds are high.
The Fees of The Doctor: The surgeon or your ophthalmologist will charge a fee for their service. If the doctor holds an international license or is a stalwart in the field, you can expect them to have a more expensive fee structure than a local doctor who lacks the credentials.
Frequently Asked Questions About Eye Cornea Transplants In India
Ques 1. Does the patient have to wear glasses post-operation?
Ans 1. A cornea transplant is followed by a distortion in the corneal structure that needs to be fixed with glasses and other eye care, So if there is a change in the quality or the clarity of vision, the patient needs to see a doctor and wear goggles to ensure that their visions have been properly corrected.
Ques 2. How soon can a person start to drive after a cornea transplant?
Ans 2. If the patient has one functional eye, they can start driving a vehicle within 24 hours of surgery. However, to avoid complications and ensure the patient’s safety on the road, doctors recommend a 72-hour rest before any heavy task.
Ques 3. Is an eye cornea transplant very costly?
Ans 3. Cornea transplant does require some funds and a substantial amount of money that ranges between INR 1* and 1.5 lakhs* depending on the other factors that can affect the price range. It is not as pricey as other organ transplant surgeries, and there are multiple funding options, including bank loans, government assistance, and crowdfunding.
Ques 4. Can anyone get a cornea transplant?
Ans 4. Cornea transplant treatment is meant for people with corneal diseases that can be treated only through an invasive treatment and those whose cornea has sustained irreversible damage.
Ques 5. How long must one stay in the hospital after a cornea transplant?
Ans 5. A cornea transplant patient needs a minimum of 24 to 48 hours of stay in the hospital after surgery. The length of stay also depends on the patient’s medical conditions.
Ques 6. How long does a cornea transplant take?
Ans 6. The cornea transplant surgery usually takes less than an hour to complete.
Ques 7. What kind of anesthesia is used during a cornea transplant?
Ans 7. Patients who have significant cardiovascular issues require intra-arterial blood pressure monitoring. Retribular or local anesthesia is used for corneal transplants.
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