Cornea is the first, clear layer of the eye.  It bends light so the image is focused on the retina.  The cornea is prone to diseases such as infection, ectasia and hereditary disorders (dystrophies).  


Keratoconus is also a common degenerative corneal disorder.  Its prevalence is much higher in New Zealand.  Cross-linking is a procedure designed to slow and potentially halt the process of degeneration.  

How long is the waiting list for a corneal transplant?

The average wait time for a corneal transplant is approximately 6 months.  This is due to the shortage of donor corneal tissue in New Zealand. 

What are the risks associated with a corneal transplant?

1:1000 risk of sight threatening complication such as severe infection, sympathetic ophthalmia, suprachoroidal haemorrhage, and retinal detachment. 5-10% risk of treatable problems such as mild-moderate graft rejection, suture related problems, inflammation, cystoid macular oedema, and glaucoma. 

What is the difference between DMEK and DSAEK?

DMEK is a thinner layer of endothelial transplant.  The visual outcome are comparable if not superior when compared to DSAEK. 

What is the cost for a corneal transplant?

The cost varies depending on the type of corneal transplant, local vs general anaesthesia, the need for inpatient care, and the donor tissue.  It is estimated to be in the range of NZD 12,000 to 20,000.

What is the success rate of corneal cross-linking?

Corneal cross-linking has a 95% success rate in slowing and stopping the progression of keratoconus. 

What are the risk associated with corneal cross-linking?

The risks include corneal infection (1-2%), corneal haze and scarring (1-5%), and rare cases of severe corneal melt (1:1000).