Cornea Transplantation (Keratoplasty) Cost in India – Procedure, Best Doctors & Hospitals

Posted on March 10th, 2020 by Ganesh Gopakumar


Cost of Cornea transplantation (keratoplasty) in India

The cost of cornea transplantation (corneal graft) in India varies from USD 1000-2000.

Choice of Hospital

Cost increases drastically with the choice of hospital. The cost varies drastically when we go from an economy hospital to a premium hospital. The higher cost in premium hospitals is due to the higher room rent, cost for medical care, etc. The quality of healthcare remains the same but the luxury increases.

Choice of City

The overall price is also determined by the choice of city. The cost of food, accommodation, and transportation are much higher in Tier 1 cities. Hospitals in metro cities also charge higher for medical care. Tier 2 cities are cheaper.

Days in hospital1
Days outside hospital7
Total days in India8

What is cornea?

Cornea is the anterior transparent part of the eye, that covers the iris, pupil, and the anterior chamber. It is mainly associated with the eye’s focussing power. It helps to focus the light entering the retina, which is the light sensitive part of the eye.


What is keratoplasty (corneal transplant)?

Corneal transplantation, also known as corneal grafting, is a surgical procedure in which a damaged or diseased cornea is replaced by donated corneal tissue (the graft). This is done for patients with damaged or diseased cornea.

Why do you need a corneal graft?

A healthy, clear cornea is essential for good vision. If your cornea is damaged due to eye disease or eye injury, it can become swollen, scarred or severely misshapen and distort your vision. It is done mainly when cornea gets affected with conditions like:

  • Keratoconus (outward bulging of cornea)
  • Fuchs’ dystrophy
  • Swelling of the cornea
  • Clouding of the cornea
  • Thinning of the cornea
  • Corneal ulcers
  • Cornea scarring
  • Complications caused by previous eye surgery

Types of corneal graft

  • Penetrating keratoplasty (PK)

The entire cornea (both the front and inner corneal layers) are damaged in certain cases. Hence, the whole cornea is replaced by a donor cornea. This is called penetrating keratoplasty (PK), or full thickness corneal transplant. Your diseased or damaged cornea is removed. Then the clear donor cornea is sewn into place.

PK has a longer recovery period than other types of corneal transplants. It can take upto a year to get full vision back. In addition, there is a chance for rejection of the donor cornea. This is because the body’s immune system assumes the new cornea to be a foreign body and attacks it.

  • Deep anterior lamellar keratoplasty (DALK)

Sometimes the front and the inner layers of your cornea become damaged or diseased. The recipient’s endothelium and Descemet’s membrane are kept as it is. The rest of the cornea is replaced with the donor cornea.  This transplant is called deep anterior lamellar keratoplasty (DALK) or partial thickness corneal transplant. Your diseased or damaged cornea is removed. Then the clear donor cornea is sewn into place.

The healing time is much less and there is only a lower chance of the cornea being rejected.

  • Endothelial keratoplasty

In some eye conditions, the innermost layer, endothelium is damaged. This causes the cornea to swell, affecting your vision. Endothelial keratoplasty is a surgery to replace this layer of the cornea with healthy donor tissue.

From where will you get a donor cornea?

The process of eye donation starts with an individual’s decision to donate his cornea, mostly after his death. In case, if the patient has already died the person’s relative’s consent is required for the procedure. Usually, eye banks deal with such situations, helping to store the donor’s eye when he dies. The eye bank then gives the cornea to the recipient, who has corneal blindness. Everyone is a universal donor for corneal tissue. The donor’s blood group, age, eye color and eyesight does not have to match with that of the recipient. Aside from those suffering from infections or a few highly communicable diseases, most people are potential cornea donors.


  • A physical examination of your eye by an ophthalmologist.
  • The measurements of your eye is taken to determine the size of cornea you need.
  • Tell your doctor regarding all the medications you are taking as some of them need to be stopped.
  • All other eye related issues such as infections, or swelling need to be treated prior to the surgery. This is done to prevent your cornea transplant from failing.
  • Your doctor also looks for conditions that may cause complications during or after the procedure.
  • You can eat and drink normally on the day of the procedure.


  • You will lie on the operation table with your blood pressure, heart rate, and oxygen levels constantly monitored.
  • A sedative is given through IV and a local anesthesia is given to numb the eye for transplant.
  • You will be awake during the procedure but you won’t feel any pain.
  • The surgeon removes the part of the cornea which is diseased or damaged.
  • The surgeon then takes the donor cornea which is in the correct size as required. He keeps it in place and stitches it.


Post-surgical care

  • Eye drops and, sometimes, oral medications may be given to control swelling, infection, pain, etc
  • An eye patch may be given to protect your eye as it heals after your surgery.
  • Get to normal activities, including exercise slowly.
  • Take extra precautions to avoid harming your eye.
  • Frequent eye exams are required after the surgery.

Risks of cornea transplant

  • Infection
  • Increased risk of cataract
  • Bleeding
  • Rejection of donor’s cornea
  • Problem caused by stitches
  • Swelling of cornea
  • Glaucoma

Best doctors in India for Keratoplasty

  • Dr Lata Bajpai.
  • Dr. Harish Rai.
  • Dr Shayam Agarwal.
  • Dr. Ramesh C Shah.
  • Dr. Sanjay Dhawan.
  • Dr. Amit Bhatia.
  • Dr A K Rohatgi.
  • Dr. Vinod Gupta’s.
  • Dr. Sanjay Chaudhary

Best hospitals in India for Keratoplasty.

  • Dr. R.P. Centre for ophthalmic sciences, A.I.I.M.S, New Delhi
  • Shroff eye hospital New, Delhi
  • L.V. Prasad eye hospital Hyderabad
  • Sankara Netralaya, Chennai
  • Aravind eye hospital, Madurai
  • PBMA’S H. V. Desai Eye Hospital, Pune
  • Centre for sight, New Delhi
  • Rotary eye hospital, Navsari
  • Vasan eye care
  • Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, Kerala


How long will you be in the operation room?

You will be in the operation theatre for 1-2 hours but it takes lesser time for the procedure.

Will my eyes be covered after the surgery?

Yes, you will have a eye patch or a metal sheild covering your eye after the surgery. You will not be able to wear your glasses over the patch. It will probably be removed the next day.

Will you have stitches?

Yes, most of them have stitches. But it is something you will not be aware of. Some are removed after a month and some are removed after years.