Corneal transplant

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Corneal transplant

What you need to know

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Preparing for your visit

By following these important tips, you will arrive prepared for your surgery. Learn More

Preparing for your visit


Thank you for choosing the Kensington Eye Institute for your upcoming appointment. By following these important tips, you will arrive prepared for your surgery at the Kensington Eye Institute.

We want you to feel comfortable in our care, and to make your experience as relaxed as possible.

Tip #1: Confirm your appointment

Please contact your surgeon’s office to confirm your arrival and surgery time. You also need to confirm your pre and post-operative eye drops with your surgeon.

Find your surgeon’s office 

Tip #2: Make sure you have everything you need

Click here for printer-friendly detailed pre-operative patient instructions:

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We recommend you follow this checklist to make sure you have everything you need before surgery:

  • Bring a valid OHIP card and photo ID. If you do not have this with you the surgery will be cancelled.

  • Remember, do  not to eat or drink anything after midnight or your surgery will be cancelled.

  • Please arrange for someone to pick you up from your procedure. Advise your pickup to come to the 6th floor to collect you.

  • Please note: Taxi services or wheel trans are not considered accompaniment home a you will not be released.

  • If necessary, bring one person with you to act as translator. The translator will need to stay with you until you are discharged from surgery. They will also accompany you home.

  • Wear loose-fitting clothing that opens up in the front. Please do not wear multiple layers of clothing, full slips or dresses.

  • Please do not wear eye make-up, perfume or cologne.

  • Unexpected complications and cancellations on the day of surgery may delay or advance your surgery time.

  • It is not advisable to book any other appointments on the day of surgery.

Food and drink instructions:

  • Please do not consume solid foods or have anything to drink after midnight. You may have water, black tea, or coffee only (no milk, sugar or artificial sweeteners).

  • Please do not consume soup or broth of any kind.

  • Please do not chew gum (this includes sugar-free gum) or consume candies, mints or cough drops.

Medication instructions:

  • Take your morning medication (but do not take diabetic pills) with clear fluids three hours before coming to the clinic.

  • Please do not take insulin on the morning of your surgery, bur bring insulin with you the clinic.

  • Please bring all of your prescription medication with you, in their original bottles.

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During your visit

A cornea transplant can bring back vision and reduce pain. Learn More

During your visit


A cornea transplant can bring back vision and reduce pain.

During your corneal transplant, the surgeon will remove all or part of your cornea and replace it with a healthy layer of tissue. The new cornea comes from deceased tissue donors.

Learn more about eye and tissue donation.

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After your visit

Please consult your doctor for the best time to resume daily activities like exercise. Learn More

After your visit


You should rest for 24 hours after your corneal transplant. Please consult your doctor for the best time to resume daily activities.

Patient instructions:

Full thickness Corneal transplant Post-operative instructions

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Partial thickness Corneal Transplant Post-operative instructions

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What to expect after your procedure:

Your eye will take 6 to 8 weeks to heal. It is normal for your eye to be red, slightly uncomfortable, light-sensitive and teary immediately following surgery. These symptoms will gradually improve within the first 3 weeks.

  • You will be discharged 1-3 hours after surgery, with your prescriptions and instructions.

  • You must arrange for someone to take you home from the surgery and stay with you overnight.

  • Always wash your hands before touching the eye pad or eye drop bottles.

  • For the first month you must also wear the clear plastic shield for sleeping.

What to avoid?

  • You will not be able to drive until advised by your surgeon.

  • Please do not drink alcohol for 24 hours after surgery.

  • Do not wash your eye with commercial washes.

  • Do not get any running water in your eye for at least the first week after surgery, and do not go swimming for the first month after surgery.

  • Please do not bend over or lift anything heavy after surgery. The clear plastic shield must stay on at all times, but it can be lifted to apply your eye drops. 

Ocular emergency

If after surgery, you experience any of the following, please seek immediate medical attention:

  • Increasing pain in the operative eye
  • Decreased / dimming vision
  • Increasing swelling
  • Vomiting
  • A fever (temperate of 38C or 101F)
  • A gush of fluid or pus/discharge from your eye

Please go to the nearest emergency room. During regular business hours, contact your surgeon's office.

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What is the cornea?

The cornea is the transparent, dome-shaped, outermost layer that covers the iris and pupil in the front of the eye. The cornea does not contain blood vessels to nourish or protect it against infection. It receives its nourishment from the tears and fluid that fill the chamber behind it.

The cornea shields the eye from dust, germs, and other harmful matter and it is the entry point for light into the eye. When light strikes the cornea, it bends, or refracts, the incoming light onto the lens. The lens further refocuses the light onto the retina, a layer of light-sensing cells lining the back of the eye.

You could say the cornea and lens in the eye act like a camera’s lens, with the retina being the film. If the cornea is unable to focus the light properly, the retina receives a blurry image.

What is Corneal Disease?

Corneal and external diseases involve the cornea, anterior chamber of the eye, iris, lens, conjunctiva and eyelids. These diseases include:

  • Cataracts
  • Corneal allergies
  • Infections and irregularities
  • Refractive errors (nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism)
  • Conjunctivitis (pink eye)
  • Dry eye
  • Tear disorders
  • Keratoconus, pterygium, endophthalmitis, Fuch’s Dystrophy and others

What is a corneal transplant?

A Corneal Transplant or Penetrating Keratoplasty (PKP) is the procedure used to replace a scarred or damaged cornea.

Related links

Ocular emergency