Organ Donation Corneal Transplant

Leonie Millard
Leonie Millard

Published: November 22nd, 2022

7 min read

In 2020, the law around organ donation in England has changed. All adults in England are now considered to have agreed to be an organ donor when they die unless they have recorded a decision not to donate or are in one of the excluded groups.

What is eye donation?

Eye donation involves donating your corneas, not your iris or the whole eye. This is why, when you choose to become a donor, you will see corneas among the list of organs and tissue you can choose to donate. The cornea is the clear outer layer of tissue at the front of the eye which lets in light so that you can see. If you choose to donate your corneas after you die, it may allow another person to see.

In 2021, corneas were retrieved from 1,787 cornea-only donors and from 483 organ donors

How corneal implants help?

Corneal transplants can help restore the sight of patients with a variety of conditions, such as:

  • disease or injury that has made the cornea cloudy or distorted, causing vision loss
  • scarring of the cornea after infections such as corneal ulcer
  • Keratoconus (thinning of the cornea that causes a cone-like bulge to develop, usually in young people)
  • age or inherited conditions that may lead to cloudiness of the cornea in older people
  • scarring caused by herpes, the cold sore virus.

Is there potential for things to go wrong if you are receiving a corneal implant?

There is always a recognised risk of complications that are often listed on a consent form. Corneal transplant claims can arise when a patient is injured as a result of a corneal transplant or a corneal grafting procedure.

What could go wrong with a corneal transplant operation?

As with many surgeries, there are a number of ways in which complications can arise during corneal surgery. Some of the most common errors that can occur are:

  • Infections beneath the implanted corneal tissue or in the sutures (stitches used to keep tissues together)
  • There could be holes in the newly implanted cornea
  • Scarring which leads to poor healing can occur
  • Excessive bleeding can take place.

These complications, in the worst instance, leave you visually impaired or in need of more surgery. The problems could be due to a variety of errors for example, the incorrect storage of the cornea or because of a lack of preservation of the cornea prior to surgery.

For more information contact Leonie Millard in our Clinical Negligence department via the details below.


For further information please contact Leonie Millard

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