The cornea is the clear tissue at the front of your eye that lets in light so you can see. It has six layers:

Common reasons for cornea transplant

  • Disease or injury can make the cornea cloudy or distorted, causing vision loss
  • Cornea becomes scarred after infections such as corneal ulcer
  • Keratoconus in young people
  • Age or inherited conditions may lead to cloudiness of the cornea in older people
  • Scarring caused by herpes, the cold sore virus

Functions of the cornea

  • with the sclera or white of your eye, it protects your eyes from dirt, germs, and other particles
  • filters and screens out some of the sun’s damaging ultraviolet (UV) waves
  • contributes between 65-75 percent of your eye's focusing power

 Facts about the cornea

  • Corneal transplants are successful sight-saving operations, with 93% of transplants functioning after one year. By five years, 74% of transplants are still functioning and many will continue for many more years after that.
  • The first successful corneal transplant was carried out in Olomouc, Moravia, (Czech Republic) on 7 December 1905.
  • The sooner the eyes are retrieved the better the transplant outcome. But, your corneas can be donated up to 24 hours after you die.

How to donate your cornea

Further information