About The Cornea
The cornea is the clear, outer surface of the eye, which plays an important role in focusing light on the retina. A standard shaped cornea and a healthy, clear lens allow light to focus clearly. However, if the cornea is cloudy or becomes irregular in shape, your vision may be impaired. The cornea can also be affected by a number of diseases or disorders that can affect your vision and overall eye health. Our team of skilled ophthalmologists at Eye Health Vision Centers is experienced in many such conditions and can help diagnose and treat the diseases or disorders so your vision can be improved or maintained. We are proud to serve our greater South Coast-area patients with facilities in Middletown, RI and Fairhaven, Fall River, Taunton, and Dartmouth, MA. Contact one of these offices to schedule a comprehensive exam and learn more about common cornea conditions.
Diseases and Disorders
Eye Vision Health Centers is equipped to treat a multitude of cornea conditions, but the ones we most commonly see are:
Corneal Abrasion – A superficial scratch on the front of the cornea caused by contact with dust, dirt, sand, wood shavings, metal particles, contact lenses, or even paper.
Corneal Ulcer – A painful, open sore (ulcer) that appears on the cornea, causing vision loss and possible blindness.
Keratitis – An inflammation of the cornea that also affects the pupil and iris and is often associated with an infection.
Keratoconus – A progressive eye disease where the (normally round) cornea thins and bulges into a cone-like shape. The misshapen cornea deflects light as it enters the eye, causing distorted vision.
Corneal Dystrophies – A group of genetic, progressive eye disorders causing an abnormal accumulation of transparent tissue in the outer layer of the eye.
Pterygium – A noncancerous growth that begins in the clear, thin tissue of the eye and grows to cover the sclera and the cornea. It may contain visible blood vessels and affect one or both eyes.
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In some patients, cornea-related diseases and disorders do not cause symptoms. In others, pain and distorted vision may drastically affect their quality of life. Patients suffering from vision distortion and pain simultaneously should not delay scheduling an appointment for an eye exam. The symptoms most commonly associated with a cornea disease or disorder are:
- Eye pain
- Sensitivity to light
- Blurred or distorted vision
- Redness or inflammation in one or both eyes
- Headache or migraine
- Chronic fatigue
In most situations, the cause of a cornea disease or disorder is purely genetic, passed down from family member to family member. However, cornea conditions can also be caused by trauma to the eye or excessive rubbing. Individuals with an unhealthy cornea may experience a multitude of symptoms or none at all. Patients with a family history of cornea conditions should maintain regularly scheduled eye examinations to stay ahead of potential symptoms and vision impairment. There are a number of nonsurgical and surgical treatments that can be utilized to protect or correct your vision if you are suffering from a cornea condition.
The cornea contains natural cross-links between collagen fibers to support and maintain their shape and strength. The process of corneal cross-linking utilizes riboflavin and ultraviolet light combined to create new cross-links, which stabilize the cornea, helping to treat conditions, such as keratoconus. The procedure is minimally invasive so it does not involve any surgical incisions into the eye. Corneal cross-linking allows the collagen fibrils in the cornea to chemically bond together, slowing or stopping the thinning process and improving visual acuity.
Corneal Transplant (DSEK and DSAEK)
Descemet's Stripping Endothelial Keratoplasty (DSEK) and Descemet's Stripping Automated Endothelial Keratoplasty (DSAEK) are procedures used to replace the inner layers of the cornea in patients who do not need a full cornea transplant. These procedures provide a transplant opportunity for patients when the interior endothelial layer of the cornea has broken down, but the rest of the cornea is healthy. DSEK and DSAEK are very similar procedures that are separated only by their procedure technique. DSEK is performed manually and in DSAEK, your surgeon is assisted by state-of-the-art technology through an automated system.
Phototherapeutic keratectomy (PTK) is a minor surgical therapeutic treatment that uses an excimer laser to treat diseases mainly on the surface of the cornea or a cornea injury. It removes a small outer layer of tissue from the cornea. It can treat many cornea-related issues, including corneal dystrophies, corneal injuries, and even scars.
The skilled and experienced team at our Eye Health Vision Centers are proud to provide comprehensive care for each patient's vision needs. Whether you have already been diagnosed or believe you may be experiencing the symptoms of a cornea disease or disorder, our team will begin your treatment with a comprehensive examination and diagnosis. We will tailor your treatment plan to your needs so that your vision can be protected, maintained, or restored. Schedule your appointment today at one of our greater South Coast-area facilities to begin your treatment.