What is the Cornea?
The cornea is the clear outer layer at the front of the eye. The cornea helps your eye to focus light so you can see clearly. The cornea is transparent it looks black/brown because of the underlying Iris muscle color. There are several common conditions that affect the cornea.
What are the main types of Corneal conditions?
Small abrasions (scratches) on the cornea usually heal on their own. Deeper scratches or other injuries can cause corneal scarring and vision problems.
Allergies to pollen can irritate the eyes and cause allergic conjunctivitis (pink eye). This can make your eyes red, itchy, and watery.
Keratitis is inflammation (redness and swelling) of the cornea. Infections related to contact lenses are the most common cause of keratitis.
A dry eye happens when your eyes don’t make enough tears to stay wet. This can be uncomfortable and may cause vision problems.
Corneal dystrophies cause cloudy vision when material builds up on the cornea. These diseases usually run in families.
There are also a number of less common diseases that can affect the cornea — including ocular herpes, Stevens-Johnson Syndrome, iridocorneal endothelial syndrome, and pterygium. When to get help right away.
Go to the eye doctor or the emergency room if you have:
● Intense eye pain
● Change in vision
● Blurry vision
● Very red, watery eyes
● An object stuck in your eye
● A serious eye injury or trauma — like getting hit hard in the eye
Am I at risk for corneal conditions?
Some corneal conditions, like corneal dystrophies, run in families. But there are steps you can take to lower your risk of corneal injuries and infections.
To prevent corneal injuries, wear protective eyewear when you:
● Play sports that use a ball or puck, like baseball or hockey
● Do yard work, like mowing the lawn or using a weedwhacker
● Make repairs, like painting or hammering
● Use machines, like sanders or drills
● Use chemicals, like bleach or pesticides
If you wear contact lenses, always follow the instructions to clean, disinfect, and store your lenses. This can help prevent corneal infections, like keratitis.
Am I at risk for Keratocon?
● Keratoconus can run in families
● Most commonly it is caused by eye rubbing in case of allergies
● It can also be caused by long hours of screening
● Symptoms of Keratoconus – frequent change in power calls for an urgent eye check-up as it can be due to keratoconus
Feel like something’s stuck in your eye?
● Try blinking several times
● Try rinsing your eye with clean water or saline (salt) solution
● Try pulling your upper eyelid down over your lower eyelid
● Don’t rub your eye — you could scratch your cornea
● If an object is stuck in your eye, don’t try to remove it yourself
— Visit your eye doctor or the emergency room
How will my eye doctor check for corneal conditions?
Eye doctors can check for corneal conditions as part of a comprehensive eye exam. The exam is simple and painless. To check for corneal abrasions (scratches), your eye doctor may use a special type of eye drop called fluorescein dye. The dye makes corneal abrasions easier to see.