Eye transplant surgery done by ophthalmologists to replace the cornea, the transparent front layer of the eye responsible for focusing light and allowing humans to see well, is known as a corneal transplant or keratoplasty and the cornea transplant cost is very high. Sick or wounded cornea tissue is removed and replaced with corneal donor tissue from a deceased organ donor. A healthy cornea transplant may improve vision, relieve pain, and rejuvenate the eye. After surgery, protect your eye. Following the eye transplant surgery, most people have temporary blurred vision, which clears up over time. After eye transplant surgery, patients may need a few weeks to an entire year to recover their normal visual acuity. There are three surgical techniques for cornea transplantation. These are Penetrating keratoplasty (PK), Anterior lamellar keratoplasty (ALK), and Endothelial keratoplasty (EK).

A partial cornea transplant (DSAEK, DMEK, or DALK) removes just the damaged, infected, or scarred corneal tissue. Typically, healthy corneal tissue from a deceased donor is used to replace that area. Most cases of partial cornea transplant may be completed in an outpatient setting. Patients undergoing partial cornea transplant are put to sleep and will be unable to see out of their operative eye.

In this article, we will talk about the cornea transplant cost, whether or not your insurance will cover it, as well as your financing options.

Things To Know About The Cornea Transplant Cost

Who Is Eligible For Cornea Transplants?

cornea transplant

Patients with severely damaged corneas may benefit from a transplant from:

  • Keratoconus
  • Dystrophy of the corneal endothelium, or Fuchs’ disease
  • Genetic endothelial dystrophy present at birth
  • Eye injuries
  • corneal scarring or ulcers
  • Definition of Peripheral Ulcerative Keratitis
  • Previous surgical complications

A total of over 50,000 cornea transplants were performed in the United States in 2016, according to the Eye Bank Association of America, making it one of the most prevalent transplant procedures. Yet, there is no cornea transplant waiting list in the United States.

How Much Does A Cornea Transplant Cost On Average?

The expenditure will vary based on numerous factors, such as

  • The complexity of your illness
  • Prescribed medications
  • Preparing tissue grafts
  • Cost of the surgeon’s operations
  • The time frame under consideration
  • The location of the operation
  • Varieties of medical treatment

However, there is some solid data at hand. Eye Bank Association of America stated that a cornea transplant cost $16,500 in 2011. This comprised the surgeon’s cost, anesthesia, and surgical facility. By 2020, the typical US cornea transplant will cost $32,500. The estimate includes 7 years of treatment and medications.

How Much Will Health Insurance Cover For A Cornea Transplant?

What is Final Expense Insurance

It depends. If a cornea transplant is deemed medically essential, private health insurance often will pay for it. In the case of Aetna, cornea transplantation is considered medically required for the treatment of bullous keratopathy and corneal opacity, but not for the correction of refractive defects. Transplants are considered medically required in a variety of situations, including chemical damage, serious infections, and corneal deterioration.

After you have met your deductible, your health insurance should pay for a large portion of the cost of the transplant. The standard coinsurance percentage is 80/20. For any further in-network expenses, after your payment is done, the insurance company will pay the full amount. If you have any doubts about your insurance coverage, it is frequently a good idea to check with your provider ahead of time. Since corneal transplants are considered organ transplants by Medicare, Medicare Part B will pay for them in certain circumstances. If so, you’ll have to pay the Part B deductibles (which are set to increase to $234 in 2022). Both surgery and immunosuppressant medicines have a 20% out-of-pocket cost contribution. Medicare-approved lab tests are free, but you may have to pay a facility fee. Medicare Part A may cover a transplant if you’re a hospital inpatient. Part A deductible will be in effect.

How Long Does It Take For The Cornea To Heal After A Transplant?

Due to the sensitive nature of the eye, you should take every precaution following the transplant. Care after surgery includes seeing the doctor again, using anti-rejection eye drops, and getting plenty of rest. These procedures are recommended for transplant recovery by the American Academy of Ophthalmology. The ophthalmologist will evaluate your progress and determine whether the sutures may be removed during your follow-up appointment the following day.

  • Using eye drops prescribed by a doctor might help speed up the recovery process.
  • Protecting one’s eyes from harm by using protective glasses or goggles
  • Using painkillers as prescribed when necessary.
  • It’s important to take care of the new cornea by doing what the doctor tells you to do, such as avoiding scratching your eyes and resting on your back.

What Issues Might Arise After A Cornea Transplant?

eye issue

Eye cornea transplants have minimal risk in general, although they may go wrong. One of the most significant is corneal rejection. Research from 2022 indicated that between 18% and 21% of transplant recipients developed ocular tissue rejection.

The following are some more issues that might arise after surgery:

  • Eye infections may be treated with antibiotic drops.
  • Sensitivity to light.
  • The rupture of blood vessels in the eye is the most common cause of this kind of hemorrhage. A detached retina is a condition that results in vision loss when the retina, a layer of tissue at the back of the eye, separates from its usual location. It’s critical that this be attended to right away by a doctor.
  • Vision distortion.
  • Glaucoma is a disorder where the optic nerve at the back of the eye becomes injured, resulting in impaired vision or blindness. Glaucoma may be brought on by long-term use of steroid medications used to treat rejection, such as prednisolone.
  • The presence of pain is a potential indicator of organ rejection.

Despite these cautions, cornea transplantation continues to be high on the list of successful organ transplants. It’s been estimated that a fresh cornea will live for ten years or more. However, obtaining a cornea transplant may reduce the risk of tissue rejection.

How Long Does A Corneal Transplant Last?

cornea transplant

If you are in need of corneal transplantation you must know how long does a corneal transplant last. When performed by an experienced and proficient ophthalmologist, a corneal transplant can last 10 years or more without complications. It is still vital to have frequent checkups to ensure proper eye health and continued clear vision. Now you know how long does a corneal transplant last.


Cornea transplants are regularly performed and the cornea transplant success rate is high. The one-year cornea transplant success rate is over 90%, while 5-year cornea transplant success rate is 74%. Patient survival rates in the first year are quite high. Even yet, getting well may be hard and time-consuming. In order to avoid tissue rejection, you will need to take immunosuppressant medicines forever. Fortunately, private health insurance and Medicare will typically cover a significant portion of the cornea transplant cost. I hope you have got a clear picture of cornea transplant cost by reading this article.

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