Rejection is the biggest concern of people who undergo corneal graft. It is a legitimate concern. After all, you would not want to waste your time and money on something that will not be successful in the end. Add to that the risks that you face when you undergo the procedure. Thus, if you are planning to or if you have undergone corneal transplant, you need to know the following important information about rejection of the graft:
• The risk of rejection will always be there when you undergo corneal graft. It will never go away.
• The risk of rejection is highest during the first two years after the surgery is performed.
• Early detection and prompt treatment are essential in order to reverse the rejection, minimize the damage and avoid complications.
• Immediately after the corneal graft is performed, you may experience some of the following symptoms in your eyes: increased sensitivity to light, pain, feeling as if something is inside it, redness, decreased vision and itchiness. These symptoms usually go away over time and your vision will normalize. They may recur from time to time.
• If the symptoms mentioned above as well as other symptoms persist for over three days or if they worsen, you should contact your eye doctor immediately and inform him of your condition. He will advise you of the precautions and medications you may need to take.
• If your eye doctor is not available, find another ophthalmologist who can attend to you immediately. You may be having an emergency and serious situation that needs urgent evaluation and treatment.
• Rejection of the corneal graft may be detected through a slit lamp exam where it will appear as a line of progressively disrupted tissue.
• To protect you against graft rejection, your doctor may prescribe long-term treatments with prednisolone acetate 1% medications like Prednefrin Forte by Allergan. These drugs may be prescribed for two to three months. The same medication will most likely be prescribed if you experience actual graft rejection.
• If you already experienced corneal graft rejection in the past, then your risk of rejection is even higher. Thus, you should remain on immunosuppressive therapy.
• As mentioned above, early detection and treatment are essential to ensure that the rejection will be prevented. Studies show that between 63 to 91 percent of graft rejections are prevented with early diagnosis and cure.
• Your doctor may require you to wear eye glasses or contact lenses after you undergo the transplant. Some patients will be required to wear contact lenses to hide corneal irregularities or to avoid anisometropia issues. While wearing contact lenses will not necessarily increase your risks for graft rejection, studies show that complications brought about by wearing lenses can increase this risk.
• Contact lenses after corneal grafts could be required up to 40% of the time and must be fitted by a contact lens expert to lower corneal graft rejection risk.
• Your doctor will only conclude that there is corneal graft rejection if your symptoms are so severe and no improvements are observed after you undergo an immunosuppressive treatment for two to three weeks.
At The Eye Practice we specialise in fitting contact lenses and prescribing eye glasses to all types of corneal irregularities including corneal graft, also known as corneal transplantation. Call us on (02) 9290 1899 or BOOK an APPOINTMENT ONLINE.