The cornea is the clear outermost layer of the eye, the part that you look through.
It allows light into the eye while protecting it from dirt, germs, and other foreign bodies. A wide range of conditions can affect the cornea and other external structures of the eye, such as tear ducts and eyelids.
Contact your ophthalmologist at Kellis Eye & Laser Center if you’re concerned about any conditions related to the cornea.
Because there is a wide range of conditions that can affect the cornea, symptoms will vary.
Some common symptoms of corneal and external diseases may include:
Dry, irritated eyes
Growth on the eyelid (interior or exterior)
Redness in the whites of the eyes (bloodshot)
High sensitivity to light
Gritty sensation in the eye
Common Corneal Conditions
Some of the most common conditions that affect the cornea include:
Pink Eye (Conjunctivitis)
The term "conjunctivitis" refers to a wide range of illnesses and ailments that can cause the mucous membrane of the eyelids and the whites of the eye to swell, redden, burn, and discharge a thick or watery fluid. Conjunctivitis is often very contagious and is extremely pervasive. Millions of people have conjunctivitis at any one time.
Dry eye is a condition in which either the tear film is not balanced properly or the eye cannot generate sufficient tears to keep itself adequately moisturized. Chronic dry eye can damage the eyes over time.
When a person has keratoconus, their normally dome-shaped, spherical cornea thins out in one spot and takes on a cone-like appearance. To see clearly, light must be focused or refracted on the retina by the cornea. Vision can become distorted or blurry when the cornea's shape is changed.
Inflammation of the eyelids is a common feature of the chronic eye condition known as blepharitis. Additionally, it might result in symptoms including blurred vision, light sensitivity, and red, burning, or irritated eyes, among others.
A buildup of aberrant deposits causes disorders known as corneal dystrophies, which decrease the cornea's natural clarity. These conditions typically affect both eyes, are hereditary, and are not brought on by lifestyle habits. The majority of corneal dystrophies develop gradually in otherwise healthy patients. While certain dystrophies result in significant vision impairment, others produce minor visual issues.
A corneal abrasion is a scratch on your eye. It can be caused by contact with dirt, wood shavings, contact lenses, and other foreign objects. If left untreated, a corneal abrasion can become infected, resulting in a corneal ulcer.
A corneal ulcer, also known as keratitis, is a painful sore on the outer layer of the eye. The condition can occur as a result of injury to the eye or from a viral, bacterial, or fungal infection.
Treatment Options For Cornea & External Diseases
Your ophthalmologist can treat many corneal conditions with prescription pills or eye drops. However, in more advanced cases of corneal disease, surgical treatments may be necessary, such as:
Laser therapy. In some cases, your ophthalmologist may be able to reshape the cornea or remove scar tissue with a laser treatment called phototherapeutic keratectomy (PTK).
Corneal transplant. A corneal transplant, also called keratoplasty, is a surgical procedure used to replace a damaged cornea with a donor cornea. The most common types include PK, DSAEK, and DMEK.
Artificial cornea. Keratoprosthesis (KPro) is a type of corneal transplant surgery that involves replacing the cornea with an artificial cornea.
If you are in need of diagnosis and/or treatment of any corneal and external diseases, get in contact with an ophthalmologist at Kellis Eye & Laser Center right away.