Corneal Transplant – Full Thickness (PK)

The Problem

  • The cornea at the front of the eye has lost clarity, blurring vision 


  • The entire central cornea is replaced with clear donor cornea.
  • Surgery may be performed under local or general anaesthesia.
  • The new cornea is sewn in place using very fine stitches. 
  • Cataract surgery, if necessary, is usually performed separately.
  • Surgery takes about 90 minutes, in most cases 
  • You will be discharged a few hours after surgery

What to expect

  • You can remove the eye pad the next day
  • The vision will be reduced the next day 
  • Watery discharge, pain, grittiness or discomfort is normal the first week after surgery
  • You need to use drops as prescribed after surgery
  • Stitches may remain in place for up to 18 months
  • You will not change glasses for approximately 3 months after surgery and advised when it is appropriate to do so. 
  • Refrain from swimming for a period of 1 month after surgery 
  • The stitch may require a re-tensioning in the first month after surgery 


  • Avoid injury to the eye – it is weaker, and injury could rupture the eyeball
  • NEVER rub the eye: Repeated rubbing may cause warpage to the cornea
  • Removal of the stitches, cataract surgery, glaucoma surgery or repeat corneal graft may be needed at any time 
  • Continued care is required to reduce the risk of transplant failure 
  • Failure to follow medical advice may affect the life of the transplant