Waite Vision

Corneal Transplant

Full and Partial-Thickness Corneal Transplant

Corneal transplants can typically help restore clearer vision in patients suffering from Struggling from corneal disease or damage to the cornea. We perform full and partial-thickness cornea transplants on patients suffering from corneal disease or damage to the cornea. After surgically removing the diseased or damaged portion of the cornea, our fellowship trained, board-certified ophthalmologist, Dr. Aaron Waite, replaces it with a matching donor cornea. Our team utilizes world-class technology to provide full and partial-thickness cornea transplants successfully on dozens of patients each year.

“I felt absolutely secure during the procedure, and I was very pleased with the results! I highly recommend Waite Vision for anyone looking for the best treatment for your eyes.”

Corneal Transplant Utah

Understanding Corneal Transplant

The cornea is the transparent front part of the eye. The cornea accounts for approximately 70% of the focusing power of your eye. If your cornea is damaged by trauma, infection, or disease, it will affect the vision and potentially lead to blindness. The good news is, we have excellent treatments that can restore your vision. Corneal transplantation techniques have improved significantly over the last decade. During a corneal transplant we replace the affected or diseased portions of the cornea with donor tissue, allowing for visual recovery.

Different Types of Corneal Transplant

DMEK (Descemet’s Membrane Endothelial Keratoplasty) – This revolutionary technique replaces only the Descemet’s membrane and associated endothelial cells of the cornea. It is usually used in patients with Fuchs’ Dystrophy or other causes of endothelial failure. DMEK is so successful that it can restore a cornea back to its normal state with excellent vision.

DSEK (Descemet’s Stripping Endothelial Keratoplasty) – DSEK replaces the innermost layer of the cornea.  It is used in cases of endothelial failure when DMEK may not be possible.

DALK (Deep Anterior Lamellar Keratoplasty) – This method replaces the middle layer of the cornea while leaving the innermost layer completely intact. DALK has a lower rejection rate than replacing the entire cornea and can result in good vision for decades. This technique is most commonly used in cases of advanced keratoconus or other disease processes that affect the stroma but leave the endothelium unaffected.

PKP (Penetrating Keratoplasty) – This is a traditional corneal transplant where all layers of the cornea are replaced with a donor cornea.  It works best in cases where all the layers of the cornea are affected. Penetrating keratoplasty is highly successful and works very well to restore the vision when it is necessary.

You may be a good candidate for a corneal transplant if you struggle from:


Fuchs' dystrophy

Corneal Edema

Scarring of the cornea

Corneal transplant questions? We've got answers.

What is the success rate of a corneal transplant?

The overall success rate of a corneal transplant is high using modern technology and surgical techniques. Each technique has its advantages. There are many factors that influence the outcome, such as using postoperative drops, following up after surgery, and the skill level of the surgeon performing the procedure.

When can I return to work after a corneal transplant?

Most patients are able to return to work within a few days of corneal transplantation. The vision is usually still blurry after surgery so only one eye is done at a time. It is OK to resume regular activities 1 to 2 weeks after surgery. You may need to avoid vigorous activities for longer depending on your surgery and speed of recovery.

Why would someone need a cornea transplant?

People with advanced keratoconus, corneal scarring, swelling of the cornea or other type of corneal blindness may need a corneal transplant to restore the vision. 

Is cornea transplant painful?

No. Corneal transplantation is performed with the aid of an anesthesiologist. You will likely be asleep during your transplant. Some patients may experience discomfort after the procedure but it is manageable with over the counter medications like Tylenol or ibuprofen.

What is a partial-thickness cornea transplant?​

With our current technology, only the diseased layer of the cornea will be replaced. Only a partial thickness donor is needed. This allows for a faster visual recovery with less risk of rejection.

What is a full cornea transplant?

A full cornea transplant (penetrating keratoplasty) is a surgical procedure that replaces all the layers of your cornea with corneal graft from a donor. Due to improved modern techniques, a penetrating keratoplasty is reserved for diseases that affect all layers of the cornea.

Does insurance cover cornea transplant?

Corneal transplants are often covered by medical insurance. We will work directly with your insurance company to determine your benefits and whether you will have any out-of-pocket costs. Any expense that you will be responsible for will be discussed with you prior to the scheduling of your surgery.

Can I get a corneal transplant if I don’t have medical insurance?

Yes. We have been able to help multiple patients restore their vision with a corneal transplant without insurance. We will work directly with you to help make that possible.

How long does it take to recover from a corneal transplant?

Every person is different, but you will likely be able to return to work or your normal routine in about 1 to 2 weeks after surgery. You will need to avoid doing any vigorous activities for 4 weeks, or until Dr. Waite says it is okay.


The elegant simplicity of Waite Vision.

Waite Vision is a work of art — featuring crisp, clean lines, and abundant natural lighting with a stunning, third-floor view of the Wasatch Mountains. The moment you enter our reception area, you’ll experience the difference of Waite Vision.

Start with a consultation.

Your initial consultation includes a full diagnostic workup using seven different tests and the latest technology. You’ll then sit down personally with Dr. Waite, your surgeon, and discuss if we need to perform a full or partial-thickness cornea transplant, along with other valuable information regarding the health of your eyes.

PRK Consultation

See your biggest, brightest life.

To find out if you qualify for a corneal transplant, we encourage you to book a thorough assessment with us. Don’t delay — now is the best time. Our patients always ask why they waited so long to enjoy clear, crisp vision. Read what they have to say…
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