Cornea Transplant Frequently Asked Questions

What is Keratoconus?

There is a condition which has been given an inherited and which is not so uncommon, keratoconus. It is a ectasia of the cornea, which means that the cornea has an exaggerated increasing it previous curvature while being thinned. In the initial stages, the patient may get good vision with contact lenses, but sometimes, you must perform a corneal transplant for the recovery of useful vision.

What is Cornea transplant?

The surgical procedure is corneal transplant eye surgery through the cornea which is placed a corpse in substitution of the patient's diseased cornea that requires it.

Since 1905, when Edward Kristall performed the first successful corneal transplant in a human, there have been major advances in this technique, it is currently a surgery gives good results when properly indicated.

Transplanted tissue from another person, could recognize as "strange" by the body, and put in place mechanisms of aggression against that tissue "non-self", the known and feared appearing transplant rejection. However, this situation has been controlled with various drugs available today.

Are there problems for obtaining corneas?

Despite advances in the field, in Costa Rica there have been several problems that work against organ donation. These may include: cultural and religious conditioning, and unconscious fear of going blind, even after death, causing rejection of donation. Second, at the time of the death of a loved one, the closest relatives are in no mood to think about organ donation of their deceased relative. Third, the information transmitted by the media, which at times has been harmful, causing insight to the public, leaving the medical personnel involved in the donations as "merchants of organs", this produces a collective rejection against transplants.

Whence corneas come from?

For all impediments in our country, approximately 50% of corneal transplants performed by different surgeons cornea donor corneas are made from Colombia and the United States.

Price paid by the corneas from abroad is the product of the costs associated with the technical staff needed to keep running an Eye Bank of required laboratory tests to verify tissue viability, means of preservation, shipping to our country, etc. For all the above, it is necessary to implement policies that encourage organ donation so that all people who need it, will favor this technique developed for the restoration of vision. In Colombia and Brazil, for example, there are campaigns to encourage organ donation by population. Thus, the low-income patients do not have to pay anything for a cornea transplant.

Eye Banks

About two hundred thousand Latin Americans have reversible corneal blindness. Today with the improvement of surgical techniques and techniques of preservation of corneas obtained through eye banks, each day becomes more real the possibility of restoring vision to all these patients. Eye banks are non-profit organizations dealing with the collection, examination, preparation, storage and subsequent distribution of eyeballs to be used by surgical teams that required for corneal transplant operations and eventually sclera.

Ethics Code

  • Ocular tissues can not be bought or sold.
  • Ocular tissues are distributed regardless of age, race, sex, religion, color or national
  • Ocular tissues are distributed only specialized ophthalmologists, order by order, except in an emergency.
  • Conducted eye donation will be respected the wishes of the immediate family of the donor.
  • The names of the donor and the recipient will not be released without written consent.
  • Eye donation request will be made with respect for the dignity of the family.
  • Application and fund raising will be done by scrupulously correct procedures.