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Indian J Med Res. 2019 Jul;150(1):7-22. doi: 10.4103/ijmr.IJMR_141_19.

Corneal transplantation in the modern era.

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Cornea, Cataract & Refractive Services, Dr Rajendra Prasad Centre for Ophthalmic Sciences, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India.


Corneal blindness is one of the major causes of reversible blindness, which can be managed with transplantation of a healthy donor cornea. It is the most successful organ transplantation in the human body as cornea is devoid of vasculature, minimizing the risk of graft rejection. The first successful transplant was performed by Zirm, and since then, corneal transplantation has seen significant evolution. It has been possible because of the relentless efforts by researchers and the increase in knowledge about corneal anatomy, improvement in instruments and advancements in technology. Keratoplasty has come a long way since the initial surgeries wherein the whole cornea was replaced to the present day where only the selective diseased layer can be replaced. These newer procedures maintain structural integrity and avoid catastrophic complications associated with open globe surgery. Corneal transplantation procedures are broadly classified as full-thickness penetrating keratoplasty and partial lamellar corneal surgeries which include anterior lamellar keratoplasty [sperficial anterior lamellar keratoplasty (SALK), automated lamellar therapeutic keratoplasty (ALTK) and deep anterior lamellar keratoplasty (DALK)] and posterior lamellar keratoplasty [Descemet stripping automated endothelial keratoplasty (DSAEK) and Descemet membrane endothelial keratoplasty (DMEK)] broadly.


Corneal blindness; corneal transplantation; eye banking; graft rejection; keratoplasty; visual acuity

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