Corneal surgeries are designed to address a variety of medical eye conditions. They are mostly used to correct vision loss but also help to correct corneal swelling, infections, or irregularities. Here’s what you need to know about Corneal surgery offered at EyeSight Hawaii in Honolulu and Maui Hawaii.
Keratoconus and Collagen Cross-Linking in Hawaii
Keratoconus or KC is a weakening of the eyes’ corneas due to genetic factors and excessive eye-rubbings. It often starts in the early teen years with decreased vision and often goes undetected. If the vision is uncorrectable with glasses, then keratoconus screenings should be performed by a specialist ophthalmologist. The screenings are very quick and involve just a few scans that can quickly detect keratoconus and help avoid a lifetime of poor vision due to untreated disease. Early diagnosis is extremely important because it allows for treatment before symptoms become severe.
Keratoconus may be treated with corneal cross-linking, which involves using special eye drop medications and exposing the eyes to ultraviolet light to strengthen the weakened cornea. This process can help to prevent the progression of keratoconus and preserve vision. EyeSight Hawaii was the first to begin offering Collagen Cross-Linking in Hawaii over 5 years ago immediately after the FDA approval.
What is a Cornea surgery?
The cornea is the transparent outermost covering of the eyeball. This layer is needed to focus light so that people can view things clearly during the daytime. Unfortunately, this part of the eye can be damaged in a number of different ways, which causes painful symptoms and even blindness.
Not all surgeries are the same, especially for the cornea. Depending on the reason, different surgeries may be tailored for the specific patient. Regular procedures include full-thickness corneal surgeries, partial-thickness surgeries, as well as endothelial keratoplasty. All of these treatment options are usually performed on an outpatient basis.
Cornea surgeries are typically quick procedures. Most surgeries can be done in approximately 1 hour and patients are allowed to go home the same day of the surgery.
The Benefits of a Corneal surgery
Corneal surgery can restore sight. In fact, this is the main reason the procedure is done. Both genetic and environmental factors can cause corneal damage and these can be tackled with cornea surgery.
Some corneal injuries may not be serious enough to cause blindness. If an injury causes damage deep within the eye, it may cause partial vision loss. Treatment by a professional is still required for these conditions.
Genetic factors may include hereditary eye conditions such as keratoconus, Fuch’s dystrophy, and Graft vs. Host Disease. These conditions affect the eyes to varying extents but may limit vision.
Depending on the reason for which cornea surgery was performed, there may be several different benefits associated with it. Corneal surgery can help prevent bulging in the corneas. It can affect your eyesight and, in some cases cause them to appear different from normal. Surgeries can also help eliminate eye discomfort caused by the damaged cornea.
Modern Procedure Benefits
Corneal diseases were once exclusively treated by performing a full-thickness cornea procedure. For any given surgical procedure, this one was used to treat several different types of eye conditions. Individuals who had previously failed surgery can now get customized procedures to treat their conditions.
New approaches allow physicians to provide more precise treatments. These methods may involve grafting techniques, which help to shorten surgery times. Thin tissue grafts are now commonly used to speed up the healing process.
Some people can experience significant improvement in their vision within just one month or even less.
The Initial Consultation
Blindness or any degree of vision loss is not always due to damaged corneas. Some of these symptoms may not be related to the eyes at all. To better understand these conditions, a corneal evaluation in Honolulu or Maui is necessary.
During a visit to our office, we’ll ask patients about their medical history, including any previous eye conditions they’ve had, whether they’re taking any prescription drugs, and if so, which ones, and anything else that might be relevant to their condition. We’ll then perform a comprehensive eye examination to determine exactly what’s going on.
A comprehensive eye examination is performed to assess the patient’s current vision and determine if any additional testing is needed. This corneal evaluation is performed by a professional and requires a high-powered microscope.
It’s designed to detect subtle signs that might indicate the cornea isn’t getting enough oxygen. To check for abnormalities in the corneal tissue, doctors look at the top layer of the eye.
An eye exam isn’t painful and can be done quite quickly. Before looking through a lens, patients may be asked to use eye drop medication. If the patient is using contacts, he/she will need to take them out before the exam.
Corneal Surgery Preparation
Patients who undergo any kind of surgery will be required to follow the instructions given by their surgeon. Finding a donor usually takes just a few days.
Patients may be asked not to wear contact lenses for several days before the procedure. They may be required to follow certain dietary guidelines. These specifics vary from person to person.
Cornea Surgery: How it Works
There are several different kinds of cornea surgery currently available. Full thickness is one of the procedures most often used for cornea conditions. Endothelial surgery, deep anterior lamella keratoplasty, and keratoprostheses are other surgical options for more specific medical issues
Patients are usually given both general and local anesthetics to numb the area around their eyes. It prevents unnecessary movements of the eyes.
Depending on the type of procedure, the surgery can be completed within one to two hours. However, highly specialized surgeries such as keratoprosthesis focus on the ocular surfaces and severe corneal diseases. These procedures may take up more time to perform.
Corneal Surgery Recovery
Patients who undergo eye surgeries are advised to sleep on their backs after the procedure has been performed. You can use an eye mask at night too. After the procedure, it is normal to experience some itching for a few days. However, rubbing the eye can lead to permanent damage. Therefore, it is important to keep the area protected.
Blurred vision may occur immediately after surgery, but it usually goes away within a week or so. You can resume working normally within one to two days after the surgery.
What Patients Say
Frequently Asked Questions
It depends on the person and the condition. Corneal surgeries can be performed to either completely remove the corneal tissue or just part of it.
Donors don’t need to be the same blood type as recipients for this specific procedure. Anyone who follows the FDA guidelines for donating their corneas can be a donor.
Usually, yes, you can, but it mostly depends on the specific case. Once the initial eye exam is done, your eye doctor will have a better understanding of your case.
Corneal ulcers may be treated by corneal surgery. It’s usually done after other medical treatment options have already failed.
Most times, cornea surgery is covered by insurance, but there may be some exceptions. Other factors to consider include the severity of the disease and the type of operation needed.
Without health coverage, the cost of surgery for advanced cases of cornea disease ranges from $13,000 to $28,000. To get an accurate estimate, book an initial consultation. It can help you get more information about the condition and the surgery choices.
Contact Us Today
Doctors John Olkowski, Kristin Hirabayashi, Michael Dash, and Monika Malecha are highly skilled in a variety of techniques for advanced eye surgery. For a comprehensive overview of treatment options at EyeSight Hawaii in Maui and Honolulu, Hawaii, please contact us today at 808-746-3869.