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Cornea transplant


The cornea is a transparent membrane located at the front of the eye. It is a fine structure (about 1/2 mm at its center).

It shows the color of the eye (blue, green, brown) and transmits the images inside the eye. It is made up of several layers.


The different types of transplant


Depending on the ocular involvement, ophthalmologists may suggest replacing:

- either the entire center of the cornea (transfixing keratoplasty),
- or some of the layers of the cornea (anterior or posterior lamellar keratoplasty).

Corneal transplant rejection


In the absence of a risk factor, the postoperative treatment is generally simple. In particular, rejection of the graft (from the donor) by the recipient (the transplanted person) is rare.

This makes sense, as the cornea is normally vessel-free and thus protected from the influx of biological factors causing rejection.

Patients should keep in mind that, in the event of rejection, anti-rejection therapy should be started as soon as possible. Thus, any pain, redness of the eye, sensitivity to light and / or loss of vision are all warning signs that should prompt patients to consult an ophthalmologist urgently.

Prompt identification of these signs and early treatment optimizes the chances of avoiding final transplant rejection.


Prevention, treatment


Cyclosporin applied to the transplanted eye is an integral part of the recognized strategy to prevent / treat rejection and limit the use of corticosteroids. Ophthalmologists can prescribe anti-rejection eye drops:

- as a preventive measure in the event of factors increasing the risk of rejection (for example: abnormal vessels in the cornea),

- urgently in case of signs of rejection.

This medicine will be obtained through the intervention of a hospital pharmacist as part of the system for making exceptional medicines available, called ATU (Temporary Authorization for Use).


More information


Information for the transplant is provided to patients by ophthalmologists before the operation. Information on corneal transplantation is also available on the websites of the French Society of Ophthalmology, the National Union of Ophthalmologists of France and the Biomedicine Agency.