The cornea is your eye’s clear, protective outer layer. Along with the sclera (the white of your eye), it serves as a barrier against dirt, germs, and other things that can cause damage. It also plays a key role in vision. As light enters your eye, it gets refracted, or bent, by the cornea’s curved edge. This helps determine how well your eye can focus on objects close-up and far away. Your cornea must be clear, smooth and healthy for good vision. If it is scarred, swollen, or damaged, light is not focused properly into the eye. As a result, your vision is blurry or you see glare.
Infections, allergies, injuries, degenerations, as well as inheredited conditions can damage or cause problems with your cornea. There are also conditions where one or more parts of the cornea lose their normal clarity due to a buildup of cloudy material (called dystrophies). Keratoconus is the most common corneal dystrophy in the U.S., affecting one in every 2,000 Americans. Refractive errors: Nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism are vision disorders also affecting the cornea.
Dry eye also affects the cornea. For more information on dry eye, click here.
Most cornea infections or damages are often treated without surgery. Some of our treatment and surgical options include for advanced cornea issues include.
Scleral, Hybrid, and Gas Permeable Lenses
For those suffering from poor vision due to irregularly-shaped corneas, such as those with Keratoconus, our in-office Specialty Contact Lens optometrists will design a treatment plan utilizing unique, customized contact lenses to ensure your best-corrected vision.
Cornea Transplant Surgery
Sometimes, the only choice for improved vision is a corneal transplant surgery, particularly when there’s irreversible swelling from Fuchs’ Dystrophy or after cataract surgery. Alternatives like DMEK (Descemet’s Membrane Endothelial Keratoplasty) and DSAEK (Descemet’s Stripping Endothelial Keratoplasty) replace the back layers of the cornea and restore vision.
Cross-linking is an in-office procedure to treat a weakened or bulging cornea. Corneal cross-linking helps to bind new collagen fibers together which strengthens and reinforces the cornea. See the Corneal Cross-Linking page for more info.