Common Cornea Conditions

January 24, 2019

What is the Cornea?

If your eyes were a camera, the cornea would be the lens. The cornea is the front portion of the eye that is made up of five outer layers. It helps your retina to focus and protects your eyes from dirt and germs. A healthy cornea will be equally curved, transparent and smooth so that light rays can pass through (bend) clearly, helping you to see far and near.

Conditions That Threaten the Cornea

There are a few conditions the cornea is susceptible to that will distort your vision.

CORNEAL ASTIGMATISM

When the cornea has an imperfect curvature, a corneal astigmatism can occur. Astigmatism prevents the light from being refracted properly, causing what is referred to as a “refractive error”.

Symptoms include:

  • Blurry vision due to nearsightedness or farsightedness
  • Headaches
  • Eye strain/ discomfort

Astigmatism is a very common condition and can be treated with glasses, contact lenses or LASIK surgery.

CORNEAL ABRASION

A corneal abrasion can occur when the eye comes in contact with foreign material, which can scratch the cornea. However, an abrasion can also happen spontaneously, which is referred to as an “erosion.”

Symptoms include:

  • Eye discomfort
  • Redness of eye
  • Sensitivity to light

Though it may be tempting, it’s important that you do not rub your eye. Instead, try flushing it out with water. If irritability still occurs, seek medical attention.

CORNEAL DYSTROPHIES

Since your cornea needs to remain clear in order for light to pass through, a corneal dystrophy can threaten this process by clouding your cornea with abnormal material. Corneal dystrophies are a group of hereditary eye diseases that can progressively affect one or more of the five layers in the cornea.

The symptoms can look different depending on the layer affected, but common problems include:

  • Sensitivity to light
  • Eye pain
  • Blurred vision
  • Trouble seeing at night

Depending on how advanced the disease is, a corneal transplant may be needed. This procedure removes the diseased sections of the cornea and replaces it with a donor’s cornea.

However, new technologies have advanced corneal surgeries, such as Descemet’s Stripping Automated Endothelial Keratoplasty (DSAEK). This procedure lowers the risk of surgical complications that came with traditional corneal transplants and helps speed up vision improvements after surgery. Dr. Gene Moss is the area’s only corneal specialist and specializes in DSAEK as well as other advanced methods so that patients can experience high-quality eye care with less risks. Book your appointment today!

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