The Eye Center of Seoul St. Mary's Hospital of the Catholic University of Korea announced on Dec. 29 that it has performed more than 5,500 corneal transplant surgeries, the highest number ever achieved by a single medical institution in Korea.
A corneal transplant is a surgical procedure to replace a turbid cornea with a clear and healthy cornea. The cornea is a transparent structure in the front of the eye that sends light to the retina. When the cornea becomes turbid due to trauma or severe inflammation, light cannot pass through it well, and visual impairment occurs. For patients who have lost their vision and are forced to live in the dark, a corneal transplant can bring the "light of the world" back to them. However, it is considered one of the most difficult surgical procedures because it requires core competencies in ophthalmology.
The main branch of Seoul St. Mary's Hospital has been performing corneal transplants since the time of its predecessor, Gangnam St. Mary's Hospital, and is now performing more than 200 surgeries a year. According to statistics from Eye Bank, 230 corneal transplants were performed at Seoul St. Mary's Hospital last year. More than half of them, 122, were endothelial keratoplasty surgeries, which are considered the most difficult corneal transplant surgical procedure. Considering that more than 1,000 corneal transplant surgeries were performed in Korea in 2022, Seoul St. Mary's Hospital is handling more than 20% of them.