Corneal Disorder Treatment

What Is a Corneal Disorder?

The cornea is the clear outer layer of the eye that helps focus light and protects both the lens and the iris. Corneal disorder is a general term for any condition that causes damage or irregularities in the cornea.

Types of Corneal Disorders and Corneal Dystrophies

There are many conditions that can damage the cornea, including eye infections, injuries and surgeries. There are also more than 20 genetic eye disorders, generally known as corneal dystrophies, that affect the cornea. These conditions and diseases include:

  • Bullous Keratopathy – Damage to the endothelium causes the cornea to swell permanently
  • Cogan Syndrome – A rare autoimmune disease that causes eye pain and irritation, decreased vision
  • Corneal Abrasion – A scratch on the cornea
  • Corneal Ulcer – An open wound on the cornea, also known as keratitis
  • Herpes Simplex Keratitis – Herpes simplex virus infection in the cornea
  • Interstitial Keratitis – Corneal stroma layer inflammation
  • Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca – Also known as dry eyes
  • Keratoconus – A disease that causes the cornea to thin and curve outward into a conelike shape
  • Keratomalacia – Softening and cloudiness of the cornea
  • Peripheral Ulcerative Keratitis – An eye disease that causes ulcers, inflammation and thinning of the cornea
  • Phlyctenular Keratoconjunctivitis – Corneal inflammation caused by an infection or allergic reaction
  • Superficial Punctate Keratitis – Inflammation and damage to the epithelial layer of the cornea
  • Fuchs’ Dystrophy – A disease that causes fluid to build up in the cornea, leading to corneal swelling and thickening
  • Corneal Dystrophy Categories

Corneal dystrophies are hereditary, worsen progressively and typically affect both eyes. They’re caused by damage or buildup in any of the cornea’s five layers. The three categories of corneal dystrophies are:

  • Superficial or anterior corneal dystrophies are those that affect the two outer layers of the cornea, called Bowman’s membrane and the epithelium.
  • Stromal corneal dystrophies affect the middle layer of the cornea, called the stroma. The stroma is also the thickest layer of the cornea.
  • Posterior corneal dystrophies affect the inner layers of the cornea, called the Descemet membrane and the endothelium.

What Causes Corneal Disorders?

Eye injuries and surgeries can cause corneal disorders, while corneal dystrophies are caused by genetics.

Risk Factors for Corneal Disorders

Corneal disorders can affect anyone who has an eye injury or eye surgery. In contrast, corneal dystrophies are hereditary, so anyone with a family history of one of the genetic eye diseases is at increased risk. People of all ages can be affected. Fuchs’ dystrophy affects women more often than men; otherwise, men and women are generally at equal risk for corneal dystrophies.

Symptoms of Corneal Disorders

Depending on the cause, corneal damage or disease symptoms can include blurry vision, pain and excessive tearing.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Wichita ophthalmologist Dr. Sam Cohlmia specializes in diagnosing and treatment corneal dystrophies and corneal disorders. Dr. Cohlmia uses a special instrument called a slit lamp to examine the cornea. Since the cornea is clear, damage may not always be visible, so eye drops containing a yellow-green dye called fluorescein may be used to help detect these areas.

If corneal damage is detected or your ophthalmologist diagnosis you with a corneal disease, the treatment will depend on the condition and its cause. Possible treatments include surgery, rigid gas-permeable contact lenses that can reshape the cornea or other options.

Contact Cohlmia Eye Center today at 316-264-8932 or schedule an appointment online for corneal disorder treatment or testing.

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