The cornea is the clear front surface of the eye situated directly in front of the iris and pupil. The cornea allows light to enter the eye as well as providing 65% to 75% of the eye’s focusing power. Most refractive errors (nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism) are a result of less than optimal curvature or symmetry of the cornea.
The cornea must be clear, smooth and healthy for good vision. Columbia Eye Clinic physicians can detect if eye disease or eye injury has damaged your cornea.
Some common cornea problems include keratoconus, abrasion, infections, scarring, dystrophies, ulcer, pterygium, and others.
Many of the signs of corneal disorders are the same as other eye conditions.
- Blurred vision
- Foreign body sensation
- Light sensitivity
Common Cornea Problems
Corneal treatments include with medication, lubrication, specialized contact lenses, minor surgical or laser procedures.
Watch to Learn More About the Cornea
Corneal Cross-linking (CXL)
Corneal cross-linking is an outpatient procedure designed to treat corneal ectasia following refractive surgery and progressive keratoconus. The procedure uses riboflavin (vitamin B2) and exposure to ultraviolet light to strengthen and stabilize the cornea to help prevent progression of the condition.
If your cornea is permanently cloudy or scarred, your ophthalmologist may recommend a corneal transplant. This is when the diseased cornea is replaced with a clear, healthy cornea from a human donor. Depending on the which layers of the cornea are diseased or damaged, a full or partial corneal transplant may be required.
Penetrating Keratoplasty (PK) is a full-thickness, complete replacement of the damaged or diseased cornea with a clear donor cornea. A circular area of the central cornea is removed and the donor cornea is sutured in place with very fine sutures. Best corrected final vision after a corneal transplant can take six to twelve months.
Descemet’s Stripping Endothelial Keratoplasty (DSEK) and Descemet’s Membrane Endothelial Keratoplasty (DMEK) are partial corneal transplants performed when the innermost layer of the cornea, the endothelium, has been damaged by surgery or abnormal from Fuchs’ Dystrophy. The endothelial layer is responsible for maintaining a thin clear cornea. When the number of endothelial cells fall below a certain number, the cornea begins to swell and become cloudy. With these procedures, the damaged/diseased endothelium is stripped from the undersurface of the cornea and replaced with a thin layer of the innermost layers of a donor cornea. This donor tissue is held in place initially with an air bubble so no sutures are needed to keep it in place. Once the tissue is firmly adherent to the patients cornea, it will begin to pump the excess fluid from the patients cornea and the cornea will begin to clear.
Schedule an appointment
Contact us at (803) 779-3070 to schedule an appointment for an eye exam with one of our American Board of Ophthalmology certified physicians at any of our four conveniently located clinics.