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What is the treatment for corneal dystrophy?

Q: I am 21 years old. I am suffering from corneal dystrophy in both eyes. I have been suggested corneal transplant. My parents never had this problem. Should I undergo the surgery?

A:Corneal dystrophy is an inherited condition and may get worse as you get older, however I would not recommend you to have the transplant surgery until vision is affected seriously. The problem with the transplant surgery is that it is not available everywhere, and even the hospitals who do it may have a long waiting list as there are not enough donors and too many needy people have to wait on a long waiting list for the surgery. The cornea has to be removed from a dead donor within few hours of his/her death depending upon how the body has been preserved. Even a live person can donate a cornea. The transplant surgery has to be carried out within a few hours of material retrieval unless there are provisions for storage. You should also remember that graft can be rejected by the body, surgery itself is not 100% successful and in the long run even the transplanted cornea can suffer from the dystrophic condition. If you can be on the waiting list you are buying time before vision is deteriorating. Most big cities and good eye hospitals should have provision for this. Materials can be made available from foreign countries as well, but it may be very expensive. Your eye surgeon should be the best person to advise you on this.

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