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Your Cornea: Common Diseases and Conditions

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Are you experiencing eye pain, blurred vision or tearing and redness in your eye? Have you noticed that your eyes are extra sensitive to light? You may be experiencing problems with your cornea.

The cornea is the curved, clear front part of the eye that works with the lens to bend and focus light as it enters the eye. A healthy cornea is essential for clear vision both up close and at a distance.

If your cornea sustains damage from infection, disease or an injury, the resulting scars and alterations to the cornea can cause problems with your vision. Below our eye care team outlines some of the most common eye conditions that affect the cornea. Let’s take a look!

Astigmatism: This is a condition in which your cornea isn’t completely round. Though most people are born with it, you can also get it after an eye injury, an eye disease, or surgery. Symptoms of astigmatism may include:

  • Eyestrain
  • Blurry, double or distorted vision
  • Trouble seeing at night
  • Headaches

In some cases, astigmatism may also be linked to a condition known as keratoconus, in which the normally round cornea takes on a steep cone shape. This can result in severe vision distortions that may only be corrected by specialty contact lenses or surgery.

Keratitis: This is inflammation caused by an infection from certain bacteria, fungi or viruses entering the cornea after an injury.

Symptoms to look out for:

  • Extreme sensitivity to light
  • Redness
  • Tearing
  • Severe pain
  • Discharge
  • Blurred vision

Treatment for keratitis may involve antibiotic or antifungal eyedrops, as well as certain antiviral drugs or steroid eyedrops.

Ocular Herpes: This is a recurring condition that is most often caused by the same virus that causes cold sores, herpes simplex virus I (HSV I). It can also result from herpes simplex II, which is the same strain that causes genital herpes. It often creates sores on the cornea itself and can cause inflammation that spreads deeper into the eye over time. If untreated, this can cause loss of vision and even blindness.

Although there’s no cure, it can be treated with antiviral drugs or steroid eyedrops.

For more information on these and other conditions that can affect the cornea, contact our eye care team at today!


Can keratoconus be corrected with eyeglasses?

In the very early stages of keratoconus, eyeglasses and standard soft contact lenses may give some relief from visual symptoms. However, if the condition progresses, these solutions will become less effective, and specialty contact lenses will likely be the primary non-surgical option.

Can dry eye syndrome cause damage to the cornea?

Yes. In severe cases, dry eye syndrome can result in corneal abrasions, inflammation, infection and ulcers on the cornea. Besides being uncomfortable and often painful, this damage to the cornea can result in significant vision loss and even blindness. Consult your eye doctor for treatment options if you suffer from chronic dry eyes.