What Are Cornea Diseases?
The transparent part of the eye at the front, which covers the iris and pupil is the cornea. Its primary purpose is to refract light and, while its focus is fixed, it contributes approximately two-thirds of the eye’s total focusing power. It consists of three layers:
- The stroma, which makes up most of the cornea
- The epithelium, which is several layers of cells covering the exterior of the stroma
- The endothelium, which is a single layer of cells lining the interior of the stroma
Cornea and External Eye Disease Conditions
As relatively simple as the cornea is, it is susceptible to a number of conditions including:
- Corneal Abrasions and Recurrent Erosions – One of the most common conditions affecting the cornea, these are injuries to the surface layer of the eye caused by foreign objects, like saw dust or finger nails. They can be very painful and cause a number of serious issues, but often heal rapidly when appropriate care is taken.
- Fuchs’ Dystrophy – a relatively common corneal condition affecting the endothelium, which causes the cells to die leaving dots on the inside of the cornea and causing swelling of the cornea, which can sometimes require surgery.
- Infectious disease – Many types of bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites common to other infections can lead to serious eye conditions including corneal ulcers. These conditions are serious and can lead to serious vision issues or even rapid loss of vision particularly if left untreated or not properly treated.
- Keratoconus – an abnormal thinning of the cornea, which develops progressively in both eyes. Starting in the center of the cornea and bulging forward in a conical fashion. The thinning creates irregular astigmatism that cannot be corrected with eyeglasses, but can be corrected with rigid contact lenses or keratoplasty (corneal transplant) depending on the levels of irregular astigmatism.
- Pterygium – a fibrous, fleshy growth on the surface of the cornea, which patients sometimes mistake for cataracts. They typically begin forming on the inner portion of the eye and are slowly progressive. Dryness and ultraviolet light exposure are important factors in their development, which is why they are most common in patients who are exposed to lots of sun, wind, dust, or harsh climates.
- Trichiasis – an uncomfortable condition, which can lead to chronic inflammation or infections, whereby the eyelashes point toward the eye causing them to scratch the cornea.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Cornea and External Eye Disease
In order to ensure your condition is properly diagnosed, it is important that a complete eye examination is performed. The exam will allow our surgeon to fully understand and diagnose your condition. Depending on the results of your exam, our surgeons can also provide you with recommendations for treatments and a recommended treatment schedule.
Our skilled surgeons specialize in the medical and surgical treatment of cornea and external eye disease. From medical treatments to corneal transplants, our specialists are well-versed in a number of interventions.
What is a cornea transplant?
A healthy and clear cornea is a key element of our vision. In the event of injury or disease, the cornea can become swollen, misshapen, and even scarred leading to a loss of clarity, which will effect your vision. In many cases, the only way to restore the function of the cornea is to remove damaged or unhealthy cornea tissue and replace it with clear cornea tissue from a donor. This procedure is called a cornea transplant.
Request an Appointment with One of Our Specialists
The first step on the path to to clearer vision is only a click away. Request your appointment with Baptist Eye Surgeons today!