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Artificial Cornea Transplant (Keratoprosthesis)

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What is Artificial Cornea Transplant (Keratoprosthesis)?

For many patients, traditional cornea transplants work well in eliminating blindness due to cornea disease. This method uses natural cornea tissue from a donor eye to replace scarred tissue or a specific layer of the cornea. But cornea transplants can fail due to the body rejecting them, or may yield poor results in certain cases. In those cases, keratoprosthesis—using an artificial cornea—can restore vision. Keratoprosthesis may be an option in the following instances:

  • Infants with Peter’s Anomaly
  • Patients with aggressive immune systems
  • Multiple tissue graft failures
  • Best visual acuity needed quickly

The concept originates from the 18th century, when it was first proposed to substitute a piece of glass for the scarred cornea.

UR Medicine's Approach

UR Medicine’s Flaum Eye Institute performs the transplant on an outpatient basis, with the patient returning home—or to a hotel if coming from out of town—the same day.

Most surgeries are performed with the use of local anesthesia, with the exception of infants and young children where general anesthesia may be needed. Patients can expect to be in the operating room area for at least three hours for this procedure, which includes pre-operative and recovery time.

In all cases, patients return the day following surgery for reevaluation, prescriptions, and post-operative care instructions. Additional follow-up exams are usually made after a week and every three months throughout the first year.

For out-of-town patients, follow-up visits after the first week can be made with a qualified ophthalmologist or corneal specialist who will be in frequent contact with us.

What Sets Us Apart?

We treat everything from the most routine to the most complex diseases, bringing a multidisciplinary approach to care.

Our facility includes our own surgery center on the second floor of Strong Memorial Hospital, just below the Eye Institute’s faculty practice clinic.

Equipped with the region’s most up-to-date surgical equipment, we’re able to routinely perform complex procedures that were once referred to eye care centers hundreds of miles away, saving you time and keeping you close to home.

We’re also part of National Clinical Trials, and we perform our own research at the Institute. So, our care is informed by the latest scientific discoveries.


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U.S. Patient Costs

The cost of keratoprosthesis is covered by most major U.S. medical insurance plans. You should get in touch with them prior to scheduling surgery to check your policy, then contact the University of Rochester Medical Center price estimation service. This service will provide you with a highly accurate estimate of what your out-of-pocket costs are likely to be. They can be reached by phone or email, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. eastern standard time:

(585) 758-7801

International Patient Costs

For patients who do not have insurance coverage, including foreign patients, the Eye Institute has a package price of $55,000 U.S. for this procedure. This includes pre-operative visits, clinical testing, surgery, hospital fees, and post-operative visits. Travel and out-of-pocket living expenses for out-of-town patients are not included in this fee and patients should plan accordingly.

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