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Eye Health: All You Need To Know About Keratoprosthesis

Conditions like chemical injuries, autoimmune disease, drug reactions, etc., can damage the cornea and cause severe vision impairment or even cause blindness.

Written by Prerna Mittra | Updated : December 5, 2023 3:34 PM IST

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What Is Keratoprosthesis?

The eyes are two of the most precious organs in the body that are often taken for granted. While routine eye checkups are important, seldom do people actually get it done. It, therefore, becomes essential to raise awareness about different eye-related problems, what could be causing them, if there are any preventive measures, along with their treatment options. 'Keratoprosthesis' -- often referred to as the 'artificial cornea' -- is a revolutionary procedure for individuals suffering from bilateral end stage corneal blindness.

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The Cornea

Dr Pallavi Joshi, consultant-cornea, ocular surface, and refractive surgery, Sankara Eye Hospital, Bangalore explains that the cornea is the transparent, dome shaped outer layer of the eye, responsible for focusing light onto the retina. "There are several conditions like chemical injuries, autoimmune disease, drug reactions that can damage the cornea and cause severe vision impairment or even cause blindness," she says, adding that traditional treatments like corneal transplants may not be suitable for all the patients. Also Read - Exploring The Relationship Between Childhood Appetite And Adolescent Eating Disorders

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How Does Keratoprosthesis Work?

According to the doctor, the surgical procedure of keratoprosthesis can restore vision in individuals with compromised corneas. "Individuals who once faced the chances of permanent blindness can now enjoy improved vision. Daily tasks that were once daunting for them become manageable, from reading to recognising faces and navigating the surroundings with confidence."

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The Procedure

Dr Joshi says unlike corneal transplants -- that replace the entire cornea and also have chances of failure due to many reasons including rejection -- keratoprosthesis involves planting a small, biocompatible implant that acts as an artificial cornea. The device provides a clear pathway for light to enter the eye, bypassing the damaged cornea. Also Read - Okra Water Takes Over TikTok: Is It Healthy For You?

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Keratoprosthesis Is Versatile

The doctor explains that there are different types of keratoprosthesis. "Depending on the patient's eye condition -- whether dry surface or wet -- we can choose different variants of keratoprosthesis. This customisation ensures that individuals with complex eye conditions, who are not responding to traditional treatments, can regain functional vision and improve their quality of life."

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Keratoprosthesis Challenges

According to the doctor, patients require lifelong follow-up care to "monitor potential complications" like infection or device dislocation. "Since there are challenges like limited visual fields and altered cosmetic appearance, it needs careful counselling of patients and family members. Additionally, not everyone is a suitable candidate for this procedure, making careful patient selection crucial. It is reserved only as a last resort in bilateral corneal diseases, with the procedure done in one eye only," the doctor concludes. Also Read - Herbs And Spices That Can Fight Against Inflammation