Penetrating Keratoplasty - General Information //

Disease or trauma to the cornea can affect the clarity of the cornea, adversely affect the shape and thus the focusing ability of the cornea, or affect the structural integrity of the eye. In some of these circumstances, the best treatment option will be the surgical replacement of the cornea with a donated cornea. This is called a cornea transplant.


Penetrating keratoplasty is cornea transplant which involves replacing the full thickness of the cornea. This is an outpatient surgery that is performed in an operating room under a specialized surgical microscope. In most cases a local anesthetic agent is given around the eye in combination with intravenous sedation and this provides effective anesthesia. Surgery usually takes from 45-90 minutes, depending on the specific procedure and any additional procedures that may be performed along with the transplant.


In penetrating keratoplasty, the central 2/3 (approximately 8 mm or 1/3 inch) of the cornea will be replaced. A small rim of the “old” cornea is left behind. A number of very fine sutures are used to secure the new transplant in place. Once the cornea heals, the sutures are not felt by the patient.


Surgical complications can occur with any procedure, including penetrating keratoplasty. Postoperative glaucoma, infection, retinal swelling or detachment, and cataract are some of the problems that we monitor for. One complication that is unique to corneal transplantation is the possibility of graft rejection. When this occurs, the patient may have redness, light sensitivity and/or blurred vision, and the corneal tissue may become swollen and lose its clarity. In most cases, early initiation of aggressive steroid treatment will reverse these changes.


Following penetrating keratoplasty, the visual recovery will require several months, and perhaps, up to a year or more. During this time, eye drops will be utilized on a daily basis to prevent infection and rejection. Most patients will need 8-12 follow-up appointments in the first year. Good compliance with the treatment regimen and with follow-up visits is critical for successful penetrating keratoplasty. In the end, the majority of penetrating keratoplasty patients will need to wear glasses or contact lenses.


Each patient's eye is different. The descriptions above may not apply to every individual situation. Your doctor at Michigan Cornea Consultants will perform a full evaluation and discuss their findings and recommendations thoroughly with you. Please also see the documents in the Forms section below for more information.

Please Note: 


Michigan Cornea Consultants is closing on October 31, 2019!

Surgical Forms //

Once you have had your consultation and have been deemed a candidate for a penetrating keratoplasty, below are the surgical forms for you to read and complete.  Please use the pre-op checklist form (see below) to ensure you have read and completed the necessary forms.  For any questions, please contact Elly, the surgical coordinator, at 248-350-1130, extension 304.

Read, Print, Complete and Return

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8950 Telegraph Road

Taylor, MI 48180

PH: 248-350-2709