January 21, 2021

Corneal Transplants: The True Impact

Written by: Kelley McClellan

Child looking at the sunlight

It’s the simple things we take for granted. 2020 taught us about enjoying them. Can you imagine not being able to watch the sun set or rise? Seeing the leaves change colors with a new season? This becomes someone’s reality when they are faced with serious vision deficiencies.


What Are Corneal Transplants?

Corneal transplants were developed about 100 years ago to restore sight to people with damaged corneas. The cornea is a flexible lens that sits atop your pupil and allows you to see clearly. Corneal transplants were developed to take a healthy, functioning cornea from a deceased donor and use it to replace a damaged cornea in a living person.

This procedure is sometimes referred to as an “eye transplant,” however, that is a misconception, as only the cornea is transplanted. The donation of this tissue restores vision for someone who is facing a future in which they would be blind.

who Needs A Cornea Transplant?

Some people have degeneration of the cornea due to illness, others have damage to their eyes from an accident, while some have suffered eye infections. When any of these situations occur, a person will most likely become blind in the damaged eye(s). These specific conditions can lead to corneal transplant:

• Fuchs’ dystrophy
• Keratoconus (a conical cornea)
• Pseudophakic bullous keratopathy
• Trauma or infection to the cornea
• Degeneration of the cornea

What Is The Cornea Transplant Procedure?

Generally, corneal transplants entail removing an entire cornea from a heroic donor and placing it in the eye of a recipient. However, depending on the damage to the recipient’s cornea, it is possible to only use a partial amount of the donated cornea. The transplant procedure takes less than two hours and is performed as an outpatient procedure. This transplant has a stunning 95% success rate!

Traci's Legacy: A Surprise Ending

Traci Trout lived and died as a hero. She was a teacher and a mother of two daughters, constantly serving others in both her private and public life. When she discovered that she had developed cancer, she fought the condition for five years. She decided that her possible death should help others live fuller, healthier lives. She wanted to be a donor, but thought it was not possible due to her medical condition. When Traci passed away and Nevada Donor Network reached out to her loved ones to offer the opportunity of donation, it changed everything.

Traci Trout Image
Traci was able to give the gift of sight to two women in Egypt through corneal donation. Now, two women on the other side of the world can experience the beauty all around them because of Traci’s generosity.

Who Can Be A Cornea Donor?

Almost anyone with intact corneas at the time of their passing can give this gift. Those who wear corrective lenses can still be a cornea donor. Even cancer does not exclude a person from corneal donation. Each potential donor is screened on an individual basis at the time of their passing to determine medical suitability. Inspired by Traci’s story and everything you have learned? Register to be a hero now!



Topics: Tissue Donation