The cornea is the clear outer layer of your eye that protects it from dirt, debris and germs and also helps focus light on the retina. Problems affecting the cornea can result in distorted, blurry vision, scarring and other symptoms.
There are quite a few diseases that can affect the cornea. If you have been diagnosed with a corneal condition or you experience symptoms indicating a problem with your cornea, you need the expertise of a trusted team of doctors. Boston Eye Physicians and Surgeons is well-known for our experience helping patients overcome corneal problems and enjoy clear vision and optimal ocular health.
Keratitis is an inflammation of the cornea caused by a bacterial or fungal infection. Some cases of bacterial keratitis are due to poor contact lens care or hygiene. Common keratitis symptoms include sudden eye pain, eye redness, discharge from the eye, sensitivity to light and impaired visual clarity. Most cases of keratitis are treated with medicated eye drops, creams or antibiotics, although treatment depends on the type of infection.
Keratoconus is characterized by the weakening and bulging of the cornea. Instead of retaining its normally round or dome-like shape, a cornea that develops keratoconus becomes more cone-like. An irregularly shaped cornea interferes with the focusing of light rays on the retina and leads to distorted, blurry vision.
Keratoconus may be correctible with rigid, gas-permeable contact lenses. Another treatment called corneal crosslinking uses a combination of riboflavin drops and ultraviolet light to strengthen the cornea and stop it from continuing to distort. Serious cases of keratoconus may require corneal transplantation.
Corneal dystrophies are a group of progressive diseases associated with structural problems that affect visual clarity. The cornea has five distinct layers, and corneal dystrophies are classified according to the specific layer of the cornea affected. For example, Fuch’s dystrophy affects the innermost layer of the cornea, called the endothelium. Lattice dystrophy affects the middle layer of the cornea, called the stroma. There are over 20 corneal dystrophies.
Ocular herpes, or herpes of the eye, is a viral eye infection that may recur. It produces sores on the surface of the cornea. Many cases are caused by the herpes simplex virus I (HSV), the same virus that causes cold sores. Some cases of ocular herpes are caused by herpes simplex virus II, which causes genital herpes. Ocular herpes cannot be cured but it may be controlled with antiviral drugs. If not treated, the inflammation from the sores can spread to the deeper structures of the eye.
Herpes zoster, or shingles, is caused by the chickenpox virus. It can cause eye redness, sensitivity to light, rashes and blurry or foggy vision. Often herpes zoster is treated with oral anti-viral medications. Chronic corneal inflammation from shingles may require the long-term use of eye drops.
Contact Our Corneal Experts
For more information about the diagnosis and treatment of corneal diseases or problems, please request an appointment with the team at Boston Eye Physicians and Surgeons. Call or email us today.