It refers to the procedure in which the diseased/ damaged cornea (front portion of the eye) is removed and replaced with the donor cornea that is obtained from people who donate eyes after birth. It can be done to part of the cornea or entire thickness of cornea is replaced depending on the disease process and the layers of cornea being involved.
If only partial thickness of cornea is involved, then the procedure is planned to replace only that layer- either front or back of the cornea and leave the rest of host tissue intact. Also, there is advantage of lesser chances of rejection or failure of the graft with this kind of procedure. The patient requires extended post-operative treatment regimen so as to monitor the healing process which takes long time as well as to look for any early signs of recurrence of the disease in the graft or graft complications.
As there is shortage of available corneas and the donor cornea need to be used within specified time, it is advisable for the patient to be registered with the hospital so that the patient can be called quickly for the surgery.