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Cornea Transplant Surgery Sydney

Cornea transplants are one of the most commonly performed transplant procedures. More than 3,000 corneal transplants are performed each year in Australia.

Vision Clinic Sydney offers several of these surgeries to our patients. To find out more about corneal transplant surgery in Sydney as a treatment and if this can help you, contact us to book a consultation.

Cornea transplant
Corneal transplant surgery is able to treat several types of cornea conditions to improve a patient’s vision and eye health.

What is a Cornea Transplant?

A corneal transplant, also known as a corneal graft, is a surgical procedure in which a damaged or diseased cornea is replaced with a healthy donor cornea. The donor cornea is usually taken from a deceased donor.

The surgery is performed by a subspecialist cornea surgeon and involves the removal of the damaged cornea and the insertion of the donor cornea. Cornea transplants are typically performed to treat corneal diseases such as keratoconus, Fuchs’ endothelial dystrophy, and corneal scarring.

What are the kinds of Corneal transplants that can be performed?

There are several types of corneal transplant surgeries, some of which are:


  • Penetrating Keratoplasty (PKP): This type of cornea transplant involves replacing the full thickness of the cornea with donor tissue. This used to be the most common type of cornea transplant and is often used to treat corneal diseases or injuries.
    Endothelial Keratoplasty (EK): This type of transplant involves only replacing the innermost layer of the cornea, which is composed of endothelial cells. This type of transplant is used to treat conditions such as Fuchs’ dystrophy, corneal edema, and corneal damage due to trauma.
  • Descemet’s Stripping Automated Endothelial Keratoplasty (DSAEK): This type of transplant is a variation on the endothelial keratoplasty where a very thin layer of endothelial cells is removed from the cornea and replaced with donor tissue. It is used to treat conditions such as Fuchs’ dystrophy and corneal edema.
  • Deep Anterior Lamellar Keratoplasty (DALK): This type of transplant removes the front portion of the cornea, but not the endothelial layer, and replaces it with donor tissue. It is commonly used in patients with advanced keratoconus and cornea scarring, rarely for corneal stromal dystrophies.
  • Descemet’s Membrane Endothelial Keratoplasty (DMEK): This type of transplant involves replacing only the back layer of the cornea, the Descemet’s membrane, with donor tissue, avoiding the need for a full-thickness transplant. It is used to treat conditions such as Fuchs’ dystrophy, bullous keratopathy, and corneal edema.

How should I care for my Cornea Transplant post-operatively?

It is important to care for your eyes after a corneal transplant for optimal outcomes.


  • Follow your doctor’s instructions. Your doctor will provide detailed instructions regarding your post-operative care. This will likely include taking medications as prescribed, such as antibiotics and anti-inflammatories, and applying eye drops.
  • Wear protective eyewear. To protect your transplant, it is important to wear protective eyewear when outdoors or engaging in activities that could cause injury to your eyes.
  • Maintain good hygiene. Use clean hands when applying eye drops and avoid touching your eyes with unclean hands.
  • See your doctor regularly. It is important to follow up with your doctor for regular check-ups post-operatively. Your doctor will monitor your progress and may adjust your medications if necessary.
  • Avoid rubbing your eyes. Rubbing your eyes can cause damage to your transplant and should be avoided.

What are the post-operative restrictions for a Cornea Transplant?

The following are restrictions post-surgery. The duration of these depend on the type of surgery that you undergo.


  • No rubbing or pressing on the eye
  • No swimming or hot tubs
  • Avoid exposure to dust and smoke
  • Avoid trauma to the eye
  • No contact sports
  • Wear protective eyewear when outdoors
  • Use antibiotic eye drops as prescribed
  • No makeup or contact lenses
  • Avoid strenuous activities
  • Follow up with your doctor regularly

What are the risks of a Cornea Transplant?

The risks associated with a cornea transplant include:


  • Rejection: The body may reject the new cornea, causing inflammation and scarring of the eye.
  • Infection: An infection may occur due to bacteria or fungi entering the eye during or after the surgery.
  • Bleeding: Bleeding in the eye can occur during or after the surgery.
  • Glare and halos: Light can be scattered in the eye, causing glare and halos around lights.
  • Reduced vision: Vision can be reduced due to surgery or scarring of the cornea.
  • Reduced tear production: The eye may not produce enough tears, resulting in dry eye syndrome.
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How do I know if a Cornea Transplant has been rejected and what should I do?

If a cornea transplant has been rejected, you may experience some signs and symptoms such as


  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Pain in the eye
  • Decreased vision


If you experience any of these signs and symptoms, it is important to contact your eye doctor immediately. They can then evaluate the eye to determine if the transplant has been rejected and take the necessary steps to address the issue.

Cornea Transplantation Procedure

Cornea transplants are usually performed with regional anaesthesia, so there is no pain. During the procedure, the cornea is replaced with one from a human donor. The new cornea carries a small risk of rejection and can last for many years.

Corneal Transplant Cost Sydney

The cost of corneal transplant surgery may depend on the severity of the condition. After a full consultation with Dr. Kumar, you will be provided with a detailed quotation.


Please contact us directly or book a consultation to find out more about our prices.

Vision Clinic Sydney

Vision Clinic Sydney can help with corneal transplantation surgery. We can provide a comprehensive eye examination to determine the degree of the condition and the best course of surgical intervention.
eye surgeon sydney

Meet Dr Kumar

Dr Nikhil Kumar has a long-standing admiration for the complexities of the eye, leading him to pursue ophthalmology as a specialty. He was awarded a degree in Medicine from the University of Newcastle in 1998 and went on to finish his specialised training in ophthalmology at the Sydney Eye Hospital in 2008. He completed a subspecialty cornea and refractive fellowship in 2009 at the University of Toronto, Canada.

His area of expertise includes cataract surgery, refractive surgery (laser vision correction), keratoconus, and corneal transplantation. He has performed complex cornea surgery and served as a subspecialist cornea surgeon both in private practice and at Liverpool Hospital for over a decade now.


How to book an appointment

For the initial visit, you will need to provide a referral letter from your primary care physician or eye specialist in order to qualify for a Medicare rebate for the consultation and any tests or procedures done at the clinic.

If you do not have a referral letter, you can still be seen at the practice, but you will not be able to claim a Medicare rebate.

You can download the referral PDF form or submit it online.

Please bring:

  • Any prescription glasses that you wear
  • Sunglasses or a hat as your eyes may be dilated during the consultation, resulting in possible sensitivity to light and blurred vision. You may not be able to read or drive for 4 hours after your appointment.
  • A list of current medications and details of your medical history
  • Your Medicare card, private health fund card and pension card if you have them.

Our location in Sydney

We are located in the central business district of Sydney in New South Wales. Our physical address is Level 6, Suite 605, 229 Macquarie St., Sydney NSW 2000, Australia.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below you can find our most frequently asked questions:
A cornea transplant is a serious surgical and invasive procedure. It is a major eye surgery that involves replacing the damaged or diseased cornea with a healthy one. While it is a highly effective treatment, it carries risks, such as donor tissue rejection, infection, and vision loss. It is also a lengthy process that requires a long recovery period. Therefore, it should not be taken lightly and should only be done under the recommendation of a cornea specialist.
A corneal transplant typically lasts for 10 to 15 years, although some transplants may last even longer.
The success rate of corneal transplants is generally very high. However, this rate can vary depending on the type of transplant, the underlying cause of the corneal disease, and the patient’s overall health.
The duration of a cornea transplant recovery can range from several weeks to a year or more, depending on the procedure used. Your vision may fluctuate during this time before it stabilises.
A partial-thickness corneal transplant as opposed to a full-thickness corneal transplant is a surgical procedure in which a small piece of the donor cornea is transplanted into a patient’s eye. The procedure involves removing a thin layer of the patient’s cornea and replacing it with a donor tissue. This helps restore vision and can improve the appearance of the eye as well.
This information is not intended to be used for diagnosis or treatment. It is aimed at presenting a perspective only and is not a substitute for a consultation. Anyone experiencing an ophthalmic medical condition should consult their specialist ophthalmologist.
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