Corneal Transplant – Full Thickness

The Problem

  • A Corneal Transplant is required when the cornea at the front of the eye has lost clarity. This causes blurring vision. With modern techniques used in ophthalmic surgery, a full corneal transplant is a last resort. A layered transplant is the method of choice but is not always possible. Below is an image of a donor cornea, due to be used in surgery.
Dr Anthony Maloof performs corneal transplants on a regular basis in Sydney. This is an image of a donor cornea ready to be used in surgery for a corneal transplant.

Corneal Transplant Surgery

  • For Corneal Transplant surgery, the entire central cornea is replaced with clear donor cornea.
  • Surgery may be performed under local or general anaesthesia, this is a case by case decision.
  • Donor cornea is supplied by the Lions Eye Bank
  • 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 after Corneal Transplant Surgery

  • You can remove the eye pad the next day after surgery
  • 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