Cornea Disease & Treatments
The cornea is the clear front part of the eye. It lets light into the eye and plays a major role in focusing light rays on the retina. To ensure good vision, it is vital to have correctly shaped, healthy corneas. Many vision impediments occur because of faulty shaped corneas. The more common types of vision impediments, such as nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism, are caused by irregularities in the overall shape of the eye. Since the cornea contains approximately two-thirds of the focusing power of the eye, procedures such as LASIK and PRK, can be used to change the shape of the cornea and overcome the defocus caused by the overall shape of the eye.
In addition to contour problems, corneas can also become diseased, causing serious vision problems and even blindness. Two of the most common cornea conditions are keratitis and keratoconus. If left untreated, these diseases might progress and cause gradual vision loss. If you suspect you might have a cornea disease or any other vision problem, schedule a consultation with one of our experienced eye doctors who can perform a thorough examination and prescribe the most effective treatment. In some cases, the best treatment for corneal disease is a corneal transplant. Our doctors can advise whether such a treatment is necessary.
Keratitis is an inflammation of the cornea. It can be caused by a variety of factors, including bacteria, fungus, virus, overexposure to ultraviolet light, allergic reaction to contact lenses and sensitivity to eye cosmetics. Treatment of keratitis depends on the source of the problem. While viral keratitis is usually harmless and improves on its own, bacterial keratitis typically requires special antibiotic drops. The more serious form of the disease, fungal keratitis, is treated with antifungal medications. However, sometimes fungal keratitis does not respond to medications and requires surgical intervention and/or a cornea transplant.
Since different forms of keratitis produce similar symptoms, it is important to obtain a precise diagnosis in order to promptly start the correct treatment. Consult with one of our experienced eye doctors if you experience any symptoms of keratitis such as eye pain, grittiness, tearing, sensitivity to light and/or blurred vision. Our doctors will perform special tests to determine the cause of your keratitis and prescribe appropriate mediations and/or procedures.
Keratoconus is a condition where the cornea weakens and bulges forward. The irregular shape of the cornea disrupts proper focusing of light rays and causes distorted vision. Patients who suffer from keratoconus typically experience blurred vision, nearsightedness and/or astigmatism. Since keratoconus often tends to worsen, it is important to detect and correct this condition early.
If you suspect you might have keratoconus, consult with one of our skilled doctors who can provide you with precise diagnosis and the most effective treatment. If you have a mild form of keratoconus, your blurry vision might be improved with glasses and/or contact lenses.
Our eye surgeons offer several treatment options for keratoconus which include corneal cross-linking, Intacs and corneal transplants.
What is Corneal Cross-Linking?
Cross-linking is a minimally invasive outpatient procedure that combines the use of UVA light and riboflavin eye drops to add stiffness to corneas which have been weakened by disease or refractive surgery. Cross-linking, which has been performed in Europe since 2003, is considered the standard of care around the world for keratoconus and corneal ectasia following refractive surgery.
- Creates new corneal collagen cross-links
- Results in a shortening and thickening of the collagen fibrils
- Leads to the stiffening of the cornea
Is Cross-Linking Right for Me?
Patients over the age of 14 who have been diagnosed with progressive keratoconus or corneal ectasia following refractive surgery should ask their doctor about corneal cross-linking.
Our practice is proud to offer patients in our practice the first and only therapeutic products for corneal cross-linking which have been FDA approved to treat progressive keratoconus. This approval offers an effective treatment for patients who, until recently, had no therapeutic options to limit the progression of this sight-threatening disease.
The advanced Intacs treatment, whereby special corneal implants are inserted into your eye to strengthen and reshape the cornea. For many people, Intacs provide significant vision improvement.
For severe cases of keratoconus where corneal scarring and thinning have progressed, corneal transplantation may be the best option to restore vision. Corneal transplant is a relatively common procedure that has helped thousands of patients achieve better vision. In fact, according to current studies, a cornea transplant is the most successful type of tissue transplant in the United States.
Please visit the other pages of our website to learn more about various cornea diseases and other vision problems, such as retina diseases, macular degeneration and cataracts. If you suspect that you might have cornea disease or any other eye condition, visit our contact page to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced doctors. In most cases, early diagnosis and prompt treatment are crucial for preserving and/or improving your vision.