Corneal Opacity & Keratoplasty

Corneal opacity is a disorder of the cornea. The cornea is the transparent structure on the front of the eyeball. Corneal opacity occurs when the cornea becomes scarred. This stops light from passing through the cornea to the retina and may cause the cornea to appear white or clouded over.


  • Congenital opacities may occur as developmental anomalies or following birth trauma.
  • Ocular trauma
  • Corneal Ulceration
  • Xerophthalmia
  • Infections (i.e Trachoma, Onchocerciasis)
  • Mucous membrane pemphigoid


Patient developing corneal opacities due to periocular burns
A Patient from Zambia blind since the age of 10, left aphakic after several cataract surgeries, shows dense corneal scarring
An elderly man suffering from “Onchocerciasis” aka River Blindness, caused by parasites transmitted through infected black flies
A baby with Peter’s anomaly, a congenital anomaly, which is a failure of development of normal eye tissue and associated with increased risk of glaucoma and corneal opacity.


  • Vitamin A Deficiency
  • Measels
  • Herpes Simplex Virus
  • Other infections effecting eyes
  • Ocular Trauma and Injuries
  • Prolonged use of Contact Lenses
  • Keratoconus
  • Stevens-Johnson syndrome
  • Birth Defects


Keratoplasty also known as corneal transplantation is the main treatment option for visual improvement in corneal opacity. In this, the opaque cornea is replaced with donor tissue. Depending on type and density of corneal opacity different types of keratoplasty may be used.


Keratoprosthesis is a surgical procedure where a diseased cornea is replaced with an artificial cornea. Traditionally, keratoprosthesis is recommended after a person has had a failure of one or more donor corneal transplants.

Image above shows a artificial cornea (Boston KPro) made of acrylic plastic.

Keratoprosthesis is reserved for individuals who are not candidates for traditional corneal transplant procedures.