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Penetrating Keratoplasty (PKP) Surgery

What is a penetrating keratoplasty?

Approximately 40,000 people annually undergo a penetrating keratoplasty procedure. The penetrating keratoplasty procedure helps people who have conditions such as corneal dystrophies, corneal scarring, keratoconus and corneal ectasia.

It can also be used to treat complications from eye surgery, eye trauma and some cases of corneal ulceration.

Vision Clinic Sydney offers PKP surgery to patients who require the procedure. Please contact us for more information.

Penetrating keratoplasty, or full-thickness corneal transplantation, is the traditional method of improving corneal disease surgically.

Penetrating keratoplasty (PKP) is a surgical procedure used to treat corneal diseases, such as keratoconus and corneal scarring. The procedure involves replacing a diseased or damaged cornea with a healthy donor cornea.

During the procedure, the surgeon will remove the patient’s damaged tissue and replace it with the donor tissue. The donor tissue is sutured into place and the patient’s eye is patched until the graft heals.

After the procedure, the patient may need to wear soft contact lenses or glasses to correct vision.

Method performed for over 100 years

An improperly curved cornea may be corrected surgically for patients whose curvature is too steep or flat to be treated with other methods, or when extensive damage has occurred due to disease, infection or surgery.

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PKP Surgery can help restore clear vision and reduce pain and inflammation

Benefits of PKP surgery

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There are several benefits to having PKP which include:

  • Improved vision: The primary benefit of penetrating keratoplasty is improved vision. The procedure helps to restore clear vision in eyes affected by corneal diseases and injuries.
  • Reduction of pain: Penetrating keratoplasty can reduce pain and inflammation associated with corneal diseases and injuries.
  • Improved comfort: After the procedure, patients typically report improved comfort in their eyes.
  • Reduced risk of infection: The procedure helps to reduce the risk of infection in the eye since the patient’s own tissue is used to replace the damaged tissue.
  • Stable results: The results of penetrating keratoplasty are generally stable and long-lasting.

Risks of penetrating keratoplasty procedure

Penetrating keratoplasty has certain risks including:

  • Infection: The risk of infection is present with any eye surgery and there is a risk of infection with penetrating keratoplasty
  • Graft rejection: There is a risk of the body rejecting the donated cornea, or the patient’s body attacking it
  • Loss of vision: There is a risk of decreased vision following the procedure
  • Astigmatism: The procedure can cause astigmatism, which can result in distorted vision
  • Glare and haloes: Patients may experience glare and halos around bright lights after the procedure
  • Scarring: Scarring can occur at the graft site, which can lead to decreased vision

How is penetrating keratoplasty
(PKP) performed?

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Vision Clinic Sydney offers PKP corneal surgery to Sydney residents

Penetrating keratoplasty (PK) is a corneal transplant surgery in which a patient’s damaged corneal tissue is removed and replaced with donor corneal tissue.

During the procedure, a surgeon makes a series of precise, overlapping incisions in the patient’s cornea, removing the damaged tissue and replacing it with a donor cornea.

The surgeon then carefully stitches the donor cornea in place. Once the transplant is complete, the surgeon focuses on achieving a smooth surface, often using a laser to reshape the surface of the eye.

After the surgery medication and eye drops may be given to assist with any discomfort that the patient may be feeling.

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How Can Vision Clinic Sydney Help You with PKP Surgery?

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Meet Dr Kumar

Dr Nikhil Kumar graduated in Medicine from the University of Newcastle in 1998 and completed ophthalmology speciality training at the Sydney Eye Hospital in 2008. He has extensive experience in cataract surgery, refractive surgery, corneal transplantation and laser vision correction. He chose Ophthalmology because he was fascinated with the eye and vision.

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.

Costs of PKP Surgery in Sydney

We advise that you book a consultation with us at Vision Clinic Sydney, where we will conduct an initial consultation. After that, we will provide you with an accurate estimate of how much the surgery will cost and if medical insurance will cover the procedure.

We do provide flexible payment plans for any surgical procedures at Vision Clinic Sydney:

  • Simple online application
  • Approval in 60 minutes
  • Payment plans up to $30,000
  • Transparent fees
  • Hassle-free payments to your surgeon

Visit the Medipay website at to apply now.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below you can find our most frequently asked questions about PKP surgery:

The duration of a PKP surgery can vary depending on the extent of the procedure. Generally, the procedure takes around 1-2 hours to complete.

The success rate of keratoplasty, also known as a corneal transplant, is generally very high. According to recent studies, the success rate for penetrating keratoplasty (PKP) is 90-95%, while the success rate for endothelial keratoplasty (EK) is 95-99%.

A penetrating keratoplasty (PKP), also known as a full-thickness corneal transplant, is a permanent procedure.

If everything goes well the transplanted corneal tissue should last for several decades.

The waiting time for a corneal transplant depends on the availability of a compatible donor and the severity of the patient’s condition. In Australia, the average waiting time for a corneal transplant is approximately six months to one year, though it can vary widely depending on the patient’s specific needs.

PKP surgery can help treat some types of corneal diseases, but it is not a cure for all conditions. PKP surgery can be used to repair some types of corneal injuries and can also help to restore vision in some cases.

It is important to consult with a corneal surgeon to determine if PKP surgery is one of the  suitable treatment options for your particular corneal condition.

PLEASE NOTE: 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 prescription. Anyone experiencing a medical condition or requiring medical therapy should consult their doctor. A second opinion is also encouraged.

How to book an appointment

For your first appointment, you will need a referral letter from your General Practitioner or Optometrist. You can still be seen at the practice without a referral but will not be able to claim a Medicare rebate for the consultation or any tests/procedures you may have performed at the clinic.

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.

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