Vaccines and Corneal Transplants

Some ophthalmologists are recommending that patients with full thickness corneal transplants take special precautions around the time of getting vaccines in their arms. I may have covered this before, but there is a lot of attention on vaccines these days.

The recommendation is taking additional steroid eye drops in the days before and after the vaccine. For example, a patient with a full thickness cornea transplant who is not taking any steroid drops because their transplant surgery was a long time ago would start taking some drops daily before and after the vaccine and then go back to not taking drops a week or two after the vaccine.

The cornea is the very front part of the eye, and it is the only part of the eye that can have transplant surgery at this time. Just like any transplant, there can be rejection, and the steroid drops are intended to prevent that.

Assuming that there aren’t other reasons that the patient shouldn’t be increasing steroid drops, this seems like a very safe and reasonable strategy. In those cases, the downside of taking steroid drops is low and the upside of preventing rejection is substantial.

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