Corneal Transplants

Corneal transplant surgery is a corrective vision procedure used to address a number of vision problems. Like all transplant surgeries, a cornea transplant involves the removal of damaged tissue, which is then replaced with donor tissue.

Cornea transplant surgery is typically the best option for any condition that has severely damaged the cornea. The cornea is the clear front portion of the eye that covers the iris and pupil. A cornea that has been damaged by injury, infection, or disease can become swollen or scarred losing its smoothness and clarity. Corneal transplants are the most common transplant procedure in the country. This treatment is commonly used to address:

  • Keratoconus
  • Thinning corneas
  • Scarred corneas
  • Damage due to eye infections
  • Corneal ulcers
  • Problems due to eye surgery
  • Cloudy corneas

How does it work?

Cornea transplant surgery typically starts with an initial eye exam to determine several factors. These factors include a patient's suitability for a transplant, the cause of the underlying vision issues and the corneal size. Just as people's eyes vary in size, so do their corneas. Because of this, finding a donor cornea that matches size is crucial.


DSEK - Descement Stripping Endothelial Keratoplasty

Dr. James Katz is certified in the most advanced surgical procedure called Descement Stripping Endothelial Keratoplasty or DSEK. This procedure strips away only the damaged layer of the cornea or the endothelium and replaces it with a partial thickness piece of donor cornea which contains a healthy endothelium


This procedure is a full thickness corneal transplant. A circular portion of the damaged cornea is removed from the center, cutting through all three layers of the cornea. A matching circular area of tissue is taken from a healthy donor cornea and stitched into place.

In some cases, only a small portion of the cornea will be removed during surgery. For others, the entire cornea will be removed.


Full corneal transplant recovery can take up to one year. Following surgery, it's important to use eye-drops as recommended and avoid strenuous activity.

Most people receiving cornea transplant surgery see vision improvement over the weeks following surgery. Some patients may have to wear contact lenses to achieve their best vision. During this time, it's normal to expect several follow-up appointments to ensure the cornea has integrated in to the eye correctly.

Illinois Eye Bank

Illinois Eye Bank

Corneal transplants are a generous gift. Without the selflessness of thousands of donors and their families, corneal transplants would not be possible.

The Illinois Eye-Bank has been proudly restoring sight to those in need since it was founded in 1947. Together with Midwest Eye-Banks, we have provided transplants to more than 90,000 people in the U.S. and worldwide and supported more than $3.35 million in eye and vision research.

The Illinois Eye-Bank and the Illinois Eye-Bank, Watson Gailey are subsidiaries of Midwest Eye-Banks, a charitable, not-for-profit organization dedicated to the restoration of sight. We recover, evaluate and distribute human eye tissue for transplantation.

As part of our mission, we support preliminary research into the causes and cures of blinding eye conditions. Through public and professional education programs, we encourage people to learn about eye, organ and tissue donation. We believe education is the key to making an informed decision about donation, and is also an important way for us to secure funding for the community services we provide.

We also provide humanitarian aid to those unable to afford transplantation procedures, both at home and abroad, by waiving our service fees when a charitable need exists.

Visit the Illinois Eye Bank here.

A consultation with Dr. James Katz will allow you to discuss your condition, your options and the best treatment options for you. Call today to schedule your consultation with Dr. Katz.

The Midwest Center for Sight Clinic
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The Midwest Center for Sight

8901 West Golf Road
Suite 300
Des Plaines, IL 60016

(847) 824-3127

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Tuesday: 8AM - 5PM
Wednesday: 8AM - 5PM
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