Corneal grafts

Bring your eyes back to life

Corneal grafts - what is it?

A corneal graft is a transplant operation, involving removal of the central part of the cornea (the clear front window of the eye) and its replacement with a cornea from a donor.

We can perform a corneal graft in isolation or together with another procedure, such as cataract surgery. It takes a longer time to recover from a full thickness than a partial thickness corneal graft operation.

In this video, Prof Mohammed Muhtaseb explains what you need to know about corneal grafts.

Corneal grafts - suitability criteria

Your suitability for corneal graft treatment depends on the severity of your condition and other factors such as:

  • The degree of the swelling
  • What is causing the problem
  • The duration you have had the problem
  • The effect it is having on your vision

If you have mild swelling that is not causing much trouble with the vision, we can observe this over time in the clinic.

If the swelling is severe and your vision is greatly reduced, we will need to discuss the risks and benefits of surgery.


The alternatives to corneal graft surgery depend on the underlying disease of the cornea.

  • For swelling in the cornea it may be possible to use Saline drops to reduce the swelling
  • For mild corneal scarring a therapeutic contact lens may offer some improvement in vision
  • For other diseases of the cornea where vision is more seriously affected it may be that only a graft can improve the sight.

Corneal grafts - treatment

Step 1: Before a corneal graft can take place we must submit a request to the National eye bank for a donor cornea to be allocated to you. You will be notified once this has been done and a date for surgery assigned.

Step 2: On the day of surgery you will arrive at the surgery centre and be admitted by one of the nurses.

Step 3: The surgeon will spend time with you to allow for any questions and for signing the consent forms.

Step 4: Thereafter, the eye will be numbed, or a full anaesthetic may be administered, and you will be taken into the surgery room for the operation to be completed.

Step 5: Afterwards you will be given the post-operative drops and advice on what you can and cannot do after surgery.

You will also be given a phone number to call if you have any concerns.

Step 6: A post-operative follow-up appointment will be arranged and you will be allowed to go home with a companion.

Corneal grafts - advantages and disadvantages

A corneal graft can provide a dramatic improvement in vision and bring clarity where there was only foggy vision before.

However, corneal graft surgery is technically challenging and the visual recovery can take anywhere from several weeks for some types of inner layer partial thickness grafts (endothelial keratoplasty) to over a year for full thickness grafts.

The risks of corneal graft include rejection or failure of the graft the need to repeat the graft, problems with the stitches, and problems related to the post-operative anti-inflammatory drops that are required to reduce the chance of rejection.

Most risks are amenable to medical or surgical treatment, but it is possible that lasting effects on the vision or health of the eye may occur.

Corneal grafts - results

Corneal graft surgery is very successful and the vast majority of patients recover a very satisfactory level of vision.

There are many different types of corneal graft surgery and the results of each type cary greatly. The results are especially affected by the underlying reason that the graft was needed.

The specific issues related to your individual case will be discussed during your consultation with Prof Muhtaseb.

What you need to know about getting Corneal grafts

Restore your vision

Your cornea condition blocked light from entering your eye. This caused your vision to be comparable to looking through a murky window. You may have experienced sensitivity to light, distorted vision and pain.

After your corneal graft (DSEK), you have a healthy, clear cornea and your functional vision has been restored.

Feel comfortable

You feel relieved and comfortable. You no longer have to fear the risk of going blind, and your mood and general well-being have improved tenfold. Everyone will be so pleased to see that smile back on your face.

Get back to normal

You can wake up in the morning free from any bothersome symptoms. Normal daily activities such as going to work, driving and cooking dinner are no longer a struggle. You’re able to live a normal life again.

Enjoy life

Now that your eyes are no longer holding you back, you can immerse yourself in all of the fun, social activities and events you previously missed.

A corneal graft has allowed you to fall back in love with life.

Discover the number one mistake patients make when choosing cataract surgery

Most people have cataract surgery without knowing about all the options they actually have surrounding cataract surgery. Unfortunately, most people only find this out after having cataract surgery. The information in this Wales Cataract Guide could save you frustration and worry. Simply click the button below to give us your email and we’ll send you this life changing guide:

Download our Cataract Guide

Who might need our astigmatism treatment?

You’re over 45 and would love to read again without glasses

Unfortunately, reading glasses or varifocals get in the way of many of the things you most enjoy. Yes, spectacles help, but they are annoying little appendages that you lose or must clean to see clearly.

If you feel annoyed, anxious and limited by reading glasses or varifocal spectacles, we can help. Don’t let your favourite hobbies become tiring chores.

Be free from reading specs for good. Experience the liberation from squinting and headaches that you might have already begun to accept as part of life.

Instead, look forward to enjoying everything that your vision has to offer. Whether you enjoy reading, gardening, or the great outdoors, everything looks better when your eyes see as young as you feel.

Get a new lease on life. Contact us today and take the first step towards a better life.

Book a consultation

Your vision is yellowing, duller, and cataracts are forming.

The effect on your life can vary from being slightly frustrating, through to significantly affecting your ability to function independently, or even causing a devastating reduction in vision.

Before you developed cataracts, you were living a full life. You may enjoy the outdoors, have indoor hobbies or enjoy travelling. Or, perhaps you have finished working and are now taking the time to enjoy everything you may have missed when you were busy making a living.

Sadly, your eyes now dull the shine of life’s beautiful landscape. The trees, the flowers and even the sky don’t seem as bright as they used to look.

Get your life back without the compromise.

Book a consultation

Hear from our patients

With over 6300+ surgeries performed hear from just a few of my happy patients.

It’s been incredibly liberating to wake up in the morning and be able to see without reaching for my glasses.

Cataract Surgery

I can go any anywhere and see anything near and far. I can see now as well as I could when I was 18 years of age which is incredible and I’m looking forward to clear vision for the rest of my life.

Kevin Taylor
Cataract Surgery

“No. 1 – My advice would be do it. No. 2 – See Mohammed if you can. I made the decision to not go down the NHS route because I wanted to see the best consultant – probably in the UK… It was absolutely worth it… because you can’t really put a price on your sight.”

Martin Harris
Cataract Surgery & Keratoconus Treatment

“I don’t wear glasses at all now. I don’t need them. I was impressed by his professionalism, his calmness. He explained everything clearly and in layman’s language… I would say to anyone considering treatment: just do it. Don’t be afraid of it. It’s painless and it works.”

Martin Power
Refractive Cataract Surgery with multifocal toric lenses

“I can’t speak highly enough of (Prof Muhtaseb). Nothing was too much trouble, you could phone anytime, day or night. I wish I had done it when I first started wearing reading glasses and just gone to Prof Muhtaseb then and got it done. I would do it all over again, but do it much faster.”

Ann Edworthy
Refractive Cataract Surgery & Piggyback Lenses

“I would definitely recommend the professor. I think his approach is perfect! If you have any anxieties at all – just check with someone who’s had the procedure done. I had no pain at all. I expected a little bit of discomfort – but no pain, that was good. It’s life-enhancing and that’s not something you can put clearly enough. I didn’t realise how green the trees were! It’s lovely!”

Sue Sargeant
Cataract Surgery with a Duet multifocal lens

Enjoy a life free from cataracts, glasses and contact lenses in three easy steps

Talk to us

Request your consultation online or call us on 02922 550 201 and we’ll guide you towards an initial assessment.

Meet your consultant

I’ll see you before treatment to ensure you’re a good candidate and treat you at one of my facilities in South Wales or Bristol.

Revitalise your eyes

I’ll supervise your aftercare as you begin to experience a life free of cataracts and glasses and contact lenses.

Guides & articles

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About the expert

Prof Mohammed Muhtaseb, FRCOphth

Consultant Cornea, Cataract and Refractive Surgeon

Based in South Wales, he is one of the very few ophthalmologists working in the UK who is a fellowship-trained specialist in Cornea, Cataract and Refractive Surgery. He holds full specialist registration with the General Medical Council and was appointed as a Consultant in the NHS in 2006.