The cornea

The cornea is the eye’s window to the world. The curved, outermost part of the eye, it is crystal clear, moistened by lachrymal fluid and consists of several layers. Light is conducted through the cornea and the lens to the sensory cells of the retina, which transmits the light stimuli along the optic nerve to the brain.

Medical conditions that may lead to transplantation

Pathological clouding of the cornea may be congenital or caused by injury, infection or ulceration. Hereditary diseases or metabolic disorders can also cause increasing clouding of the cornea.

If the cornea has become permanently opaque, transplantation is normally the only option.

About 650 cornea transplantations are performed every year in Switzerland, and the worldwide count is estimated at over 100,000. This makes cornea transplantation by far the most frequent transplantation of tissue.

The cell density on the cornea’s rear side is primarily what determines whether it is suitable for transplantation. If this is not high enough, the removed cornea cannot be used for transplantation. That is why the demand for corneas from deceased donors is far higher than the number of actual transplantations.

More information on this topic: cornea (in german).