Corneal Disease and Treatment Options With Lehigh Eye Specialists

Corneal disease is a general term used to describe any number of diseases that affect the cornea. These diseases can be caused by infectious agents, environmental factors, autoimmune disorders, trauma, and genetics.

The cornea is a clear, dome-shaped surface that covers the front of the eye. It works with the lens to refract light and focus it onto the retina for clear vision. The cornea is made up of several layers. The outermost layer is called the epithelium. This layer helps protect against infection or injury.

The middle layer is the stroma, which constitutes the main body of the cornea. The endothelium is a single layer of cells that make up the innermost layer. It is responsible for maintaining the health and tonicity of the cornea.

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What is the Cornea?

The cornea is a vital and transparent structure that plays a crucial role in vision within the eye. It is the clear, dome-shaped outermost layer covering the front of the eye. Positioned in front of the iris and pupil, the cornea acts as a protective barrier, shielding the eye from dust, germs, and other harmful elements.

The transparency of the cornea allows light to enter the eye, bending or refracting it so that it can be focused properly on the retina at the back of the eye. This precise focusing helps in creating clear and sharp visual images. As the first refractive surface of the eye, the cornea is responsible for about two-thirds of the eye’s total focusing power.

Because of its critical role in vision, any irregularities or diseases affecting the cornea can lead to significant visual impairment.

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Common Corneal Diseases

Fuchs’ Dystrophy

Fuchs’ dystrophy is a corneal disease caused by defects in the cells that maintain corneal clarity. Fluid accumulates in the cornea and clouds vision. Treatment for Fuchs’ dystrophy involves using medications that reduce swelling. When these topical medications do not help, a corneal transplant is considered.

Corneal Ulcer

A corneal ulcer is an open sore on the surface of the cornea. It’s usually caused by an infectious agent. Symptoms include irritation, redness, pain, discharge, light sensitivity and blurred vision. Treatment typically involves antibiotic, antifungal or antiviral medication to fight infection. Anti-inflammatory medications reduce discomfort and help the ulcer heal.

Corneal Injury

Although not a disease, a corneal injury should be diagnosed and evaluated by a specialist. Corneal injuries can be caused by physical trauma. This includes scratches or cuts to the eye, chemicals, or contact lens misuse. Symptoms may include redness, pain, and blurred vision.

Treatment depends on the type of injury. It may include lubrication, antibiotics, systemic hydration and other medications to reduce inflammation and relieve discomfort.

Epithelial Basement Membrane Dystrophy

Epithelial basement membrane dystrophy (EBMD) is a degenerative disorder of the cornea that can result in recurring erosion of the epithelial layer, causing discomfort and visual disturbances. Treatment for EBMD can involve topical medications and systemic hydration to reduce inflammation as well as surgical procedures such as laser surface ablation or surface debridement.


Potential Treatment Options

Treatment for corneal diseases depends on the condition and severity. In some cases, such as with Fuchs’ dystrophy, medications can be used to reduce swelling and improve vision. Other treatments may involve surgery or the use of donor tissue in a corneal transplant (DSEK or DMEK).

For injuries, anti-inflammatory medications may be prescribed to reduce discomfort while antibiotics are used to fight infection.

In mild cases, treatment may consist of artificial tears or medications such as corticosteroids to reduce inflammation. Other treatment options include surgical procedures to repair damage or remove scar tissue from the cornea such as phototherapeutic keratectomy

Prevention is key when it comes to avoiding eye problems and preserving good vision health. Wearing protective eyewear when engaging in activities that could cause injury is a must. Regular eye exams are also important in catching any potential issues early and preventing further damage from occurring.


Cornea Care with Lehigh Eye Specialists

Caring for your eyes is essential for maintaining clear vision and a healthy lifestyle. Consult your eye doctor or primary medical doctor for the best treatment options if you experience any signs or symptoms of corneal disease. Your doctor can determine if your symptoms require a visit to a specialist, such as Lehigh Eye Specialists. Prompt and expert care is the best way to preserve your eyesight.

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About Lehigh Eye Specialists

Dr. David DeRose is a highly skilled and compassionate ophthalmologist with a remarkable focus on corneal diseases. With extensive expertise and a passion for improving patients’ vision and eye health, Dr. DeRose is dedicated to providing personalized and cutting-edge treatments for a wide range of corneal conditions.

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