Corneal transplantation

Lancet. 2012 May 5;379(9827):1749-61. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(12)60437-1.


Corneal transplantation or keratoplasty has developed rapidly in the past 10 years. Penetrating keratoplasty, a procedure consisting of full-thickness replacement of the cornea, has been the dominant procedure for more than half a century, and successfully caters to most causes of corneal blindness. The adoption by specialist surgeons of newer forms of lamellar transplantation surgery, which selectively replace only diseased layers of the cornea, has been a fundamental change in recent years. Deep anterior lamellar keratoplasty is replacing penetrating keratoplasty for disorders affecting the corneal stromal layers, while eliminating the risk of endothelial rejection. Endothelial keratoplasty, which selectively replaces the corneal endothelium in patients with endothelial disease, has resulted in more rapid and predictable visual outcomes. Other emerging therapies are ocular surface reconstruction and artificial cornea (keratoprosthesis) surgery, which have become more widely available because of rapid advances in these techniques. Collectively, these advances have resulted in improved outcomes, and have expanded the number of cases of corneal blindness, which can now be treated successfully. Femtosecond-laser-assisted surgery, bioengineered corneas, and medical treatment for endothelial disease are also likely to play a part in the future.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cornea / surgery
  • Corneal Transplantation* / adverse effects
  • Corneal Transplantation* / methods
  • Graft Rejection / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Prosthesis Implantation
  • Tissue Engineering