Penetrating Keratoplasty (PK)

Full thickness grafts are being performed less and less often.

Safer and less invasive techniques such as DALK (Deep anterior lamellar keratoplasty) and DSAEK (Descemet’s stripping Automated Endothelial Keratoplasty) have replaced traditional penetrating keratoplasty. However there are situations where a PK is the only option for instance where all layers of the cornea are involved as in corneal trauma or a re-graft where a previous graft has failed.

Surgeons at Centre for Sight have expertise in Cornea and high risk corneal transplants. You are in good hands and the best choice of procedure will be selected for you.

This procedure involves removal of the whole cornea (all 5 layers) and replacement with a full thickness cornea from a donor. The cornea is stitched into place using stitches of 20 microns (40% the thickness of Human Hair!)

Stitches are typically removed at one year to 18 months. It can also take about this time frame for vision to be restored to a satisfactory level. Often patients who have had a penetrating keratoplasty require glasses or contact lenses for visual correction.

“I can honestly say that getting a new Cornea has made me feel so lucky as it’s given me my life back.”

Jill Rodgers
Centre for Sight Patient


  • Good optical clarity


  • Risk of open eye surgery – haemorrhage, infection
  • Risk of graft rejection – rejection to endothelial (innermost layer), which can lead to loss of vision
  • Astigmatism
  • Stitch related problems
  • Mean survival of 20 years

Centre for Sight surgeons are internationally renowned for their expertise in Corneal disorders. Sheraz Daya our medical director is on numerous boards and committees related to the Cornea and is considered an international key opinion leader.

Author Information

Authored by Sheraz Daya MD FACP FACS FRCS(Ed) FRCOphth, Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon & Medical Director, June 2019.

Next review due June 2024.

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