Your cornea is the clear, dome-shaped surface of your eye. It is made up of several distinct layers, each with it’s own important job. The cornea is responsible for letting light into the eye, and keeping the inner parts of your eye safe from harm. The cornea plays many roles in keeping your eyes healthy.
Common Corneal Diseases
There are many diseases, conditions and injuries that can affect the health of your cornea, and in turn the rest of your eye. It is important to know about these diseases and how to look out for them. Early diagnosis and treatment of these diseases is important to maintaining vision and overall health.
Corneal abrasions are a common corneal injury and happen often. Corneal abrasions can range from a small scratch to a vision-threatening injury. If you experience a corneal abrasion, it is important to see an ophthalmologist right away. Corneal abrasions can lead to infections, which can sometimes lead to vision loss. Be sure to get it taken care of as soon as possible.
Corneal ulcers typically occur as painful, red eyes with mild to severe eye discharge. They may also cause blurry vision. This condition is caused by a localized infection, similar to an abscess. Corneal ulcers can cause permanent vision loss due to corneal scarring, so it is important to begin treatment as soon as possible. Your doctor will prescribe both topical and oral antibiotics, depending on the severity.
Fuch’s Dystrophy is an eye disease in which the innermost layer of the cornea, called the endothelium, begins to deteriorate. The endothelium is responsible for keeping the cornea clear and pumping out excess fluid. Without it, the cornea begins to swell and become foggy. There is no known prevention for Fuch’s Dystrophy, and may be genetic. This condition can be improved by the use of hypertonic eye drops, which remove excess water from the cornea. Corneal transplantation may also be necessary.
The cornea is usually a smooth, dome-shape. People with keratoconus have weaker, unstable corneas. This results in the cornea bulging and taking on a cone-like shape. This shape can make vision very blurry. Keratoconus is a progressive disease, and does not have any known prevention. The onset of this disease can occur in childhood around the age of 16. Treatments include corneal collagen crosslinking (CXL), Intacs implants, or corneal transplantation.