In 1958, the first corneal transplant was performed in Ottawa. Annually, approximately 150 patients receive the gift of sight through corneal transplantation.
The cornea is the thin layer of clear tissue that covers the front of the eye. It acts like a window, protecting the eye from injury and directing light rays to the retina – the “screen” at the back of the eye where images form.
If the cornea is scarred or damaged, it turns cloudy, blocking the passage of light and causing images to become blurry and confused. The result is blindness.
Any person can be struck by corneal blindness; from newborns to the elderly. Sight can be restored with a corneal transplant: a simple operation that replaces damaged tissue with a clear, healthy cornea from an eye donor. Cornea transplants have a > 90% success rate.