The Cornea clinic of JEH focuses on problems of the ocular surface, including infections of the conjunctiva and cornea. It attends around 2000 cases of infectious keratitis every year. With the assistance of microbiology department, treatment of any type of corneal ulcers has been made easier. The clinic also offers comprehensive corneal evaluations and medical diagnostic services.
The surgical management includes corneal transplantation, amniotic membrane graft, pterygium surgery and trauma surgery. The clinic is blessed with the array of advanced equipments like Specular microscope, Ultrasonic pachymeter, anterior segment photo slit lamp, etc.
At JEH, approximately 200 patients receive corneal transplants each year. The waiting list for suitable transplantable donor material can be long, and there is always a need for more donor tissue. The cornea is the clear front window of the eye. In its normal state, the cornea allows rays of light to pass through and be focused on the retina. Many eye conditions affect the cornea and may change its transparency. Injuries, infection, Ulcers, inherited conditions, or aging changes may cause clouding or distortion of the cornea with decreased or distorted vision.
Sometimes the vision can be improved with glasses, a contact lens, or medications. However, when nonsurgical treatment fails, a corneal transplant may be necessary to improve vision. Our specialists provide consultation, diagnosis, and treatment for the full range of medical and surgical conditions affecting the cornea and anterior segment of the eye. These include infections of the cornea, corneal decompensation, corneal dystrophies including Fuchs' dystrophy, keratoconus, corneal trauma and scarring, cataract, recurrent corneal erosions, pterygium, and dry eye syndrome.
What is a Corneal Transplant?
A central portion of the diseased cornea, approximately the size of a small shirt button, is removed at the time of surgery, as shown on the right, and replaced with a clear cornea donated by a person recently deceased. The new cornea is held in position with very fine suture material. After a corneal transplant, it may take some time for the vision to improve. In general, some stitches may be removed between 3 and 6 months, and then additional sutures may be removed at a later time to minimize the astigmatism.
Who Need a Corneal Transplant?
Any condition that causes permanent clouding or distortion of the cornea may result in poor vision and, therefore, require a transplant. There are other factors to consider in deciding who may benefit from this operation and at what time. As corneal ulcers being a major concern in our target area, most of the corneal transplants done for ulcer related cases.
How is Donor Meterial Obtained
The donated cornea is collected from recently deceased person who had either decided to be an eye donor or whose family has made a humanitarian gesture in donating the eye so as to aid in the restoration of sight. The health of the donor material is carefully inspected before it is used, and screening tests are done to exclude transmittable diseases. If there is evidence of transmittable disease present, the corneas are not used.
To protect the privacy of the donor and his/her family, the details of the donation are not revealed. The donor tissue is placed in a special preservative solution which maintains the health of the donor cornea until the time of surgery.
The eye bank acts as an intermediary between the family of the person donating his/her eyes after death and the hospital. The eye bank arranges to collect eyes from the person, antiseptically preserve it, and use various tests to assess the potential viability of the cornea if used for transplantation.
JEH has been consistently focusing on “Eye Donation” ever since 1979 from the time the EYE Bank came in to being. The numbers of donors are on the increase steadily and of date, we are receiving nearly 500 eyes a year. The need for donor eyes still being a scarce in India even after sufficient awareness campaigns. Joseph Eye Hospital has put all efforts to disseminate information and create awareness on “Eye donation”. We have developed new strategies in involving service clubs in this effort. Many of these clubs were provided with enucleation sets and necessary training to remove the eyes by themselves, not waiting for a doctor. Awareness campaigns and Rallys are conducted.We further aim to create a network of small hospitals situated in rural areas to function as collection centers, keeping Ariyalur as a pilot project.
We have a dedicated telephone line and work round the clock to attend calls regarding eye donation. Call 0431-1919 to know further.