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Corneal Transplant Malpractice

Every waking minute, we use our eyes. They make us aware of our surroundings and provide us with the information we require to remain safe. As a result, one of the most important things we value in our daily lives is our vision. We cannot fully connect to the world around us, work, or even enjoy life to the fullest without proper vision. To say the least, losing one’s vision can be devastating and life-changing.

While some types of vision loss are the result of traumatic accidents or unavoidable illnesses, other cases of vision impairment and blindness are the result of medical malpractice. Although ophthalmologists are doctors who specialize in treating eye problems, they occasionally make mistakes when providing vision care, which can endanger their patients’ eyes. Unfortunately, the doctors that patients entrust with their eye health can also cause them harm. If you or a loved one suffers from partial or complete blindness or any other type of vision impairment as a result of improper or negligent medical care, you may be entitled to compensation under New York State law.  Our highly experienced medical malpractice attorneys at DeFrancisco & Falgiatano may be able to assist you in obtaining the compensation you deserve.  We serve clients throughout Upstate New York and have offices in several convenient locations. Our extensive experience in the field of medical malpractice is reflected in the results we have obtained for our clients.

The cornea is the front part of the eye; it is a transparent layer that covers the rest of the eye and is essential for the eye to focus. A damaged cornea is one of the most common causes of blindness after glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration, and cataracts.

If your cornea is damaged, your vision will be affected by light distortion; it may become blurry, and glare will appear. A damaged cornea can be painful at times.  If you have a diseased or damaged cornea that has not been corrected by other treatments, a corneal transplant may be recommended. The cornea is usually donated by a recently deceased person who has no health problems and is under the age of 65. The procedure is typically performed on an outpatient basis.

A corneal transplant is also known as a cornea replacement, and, in medical terms, the procedure is known as keratoplasty. Even though it is a common type of eye surgery, it is still intricate and complicated.

Corneal transplants are classified into two types: full-thickness corneal transplants and back-layer corneal transplants.

If your cornea has been damaged by disease, scarring, or swelling, you may require a corneal transplant. These issues may cause your vision to become blurry or distorted. Some of the most common reasons for requiring a corneal transplant are:

  • As a result of an eye infection that caused corneal damage
  • As a result of a hereditary condition
  • As a result of laser eye surgery
  • If your eye has been chemically burned

Trichiasis is a condition in which the eyelids turn inwards, causing the eyelashes to grow inwards and rub against the cornea. A corneal transplant usually follows the following steps:

  1. Your name is added to an eye bank waiting list. There is sometimes a waiting period until a donor is available, and all corneas are screened before being used in transplant surgery.
  2. An anesthetic is administered once a donor has been identified and you are ready for the procedure.
  3. A lid speculum is used to keep the eyelid open.
  4. Corneal damage is then examined before tissue from the diseased or injured eye is removed.
  5. The donor tissue is then placed in the appropriate location.
  6. A protective shield is used to keep the eye safe while it heals.

Complications during corneal surgery can occur in a variety of ways, as they do with many other types of surgery. Infections beneath the implanted corneal tissue or in the sutures, holes in the newly implanted cornea, scarring that leads to poor healing, and excessive bleeding are some of the most common errors that can occur.  In the worst-case scenario, these complications could leave you blind or require additional surgery. The problems can be caused by a variety of errors, including improper cornea storage or a lack of cornea preservation before surgery.

A corneal transplant is a relatively safe procedure, but it is still surgery.  The body’s immune system attacks donated tissue in about 1 out of every 10 transplants. This is known as rejection. Most of the time, it can be reversed with eye drops.

Other possible outcomes include:

  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Increased eye pressure (glaucoma)
  • Clouding of the eye’s lens (cataracts)
  • Corneal swelling
  • A detached retina, which occurs when the back inside surface of your eye pulls away from its normal position

Most people who have a cornea transplant have at least some of their vision restored, but each case is unique. It could take several weeks to a year for your vision to improve completely. Your vision may deteriorate before it improves. Because the transplanted tissue will not be perfectly round, your glasses or contact lens prescription may need to be adjusted to include astigmatism correction. You should see your eye doctor once or twice a year after the first year. Donated tissue typically lasts a lifetime.

To learn more about ophthalmology malpractice and pursuing a medical malpractice claim for your loss of vision or a loved one’s injuries, contact our law firm to learn more. We would be honored to help you seek justice and fair compensation or explain your rights to you in a free, no-obligation consultation.  At DeFrancisco & Falgiatano, we represent injured clients and their families throughout Upstate New York, including Syracuse, Rochester, Albany, Buffalo, Elmira, Binghamton, Auburn, Ithaca, Oswego, Norwich, Herkimer, Delhi, Cooperstown, Cortland, Lowville, Oneida, Watertown, Utica, Canandaigua, Wampsville, Lyons, and surrounding areas.  Please call us at 833-200-2000 or contact us via our online form to discuss your case.

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