The cornea is the clear, front, outermost part of the eye. In healthy eyes, the cornea is shaped like a dome. It protects the eye from dust and harmful materials, and it helps the eye focus. It is a key factor in having clear vision. Even if the interworkings of the eye, like the retina or lens, are in healthy condition, if the cornea is scarred over or clouded then the vision will be blurred. It’s a lot like a dirty window. When you clean the window, you can see through it again. There are many different factors that can cause blurry corneas, and our doctors at Brimhall Eye are qualified to manage and treat most corneal diseases. We tailor each plan for each individual patient so the treatment is unique to you and your needs.
Keratoconus, Fuchs' dystrophy, and a corneal scratch are a few of the most common corneal disorders we treat. Read more about each of these disorders below, and contact us if your vision is blurry and you want to see if treatment can help you see clearly again.
As the cornea progressively weakens over time, it can cause the cornea to bow and bulge outward. This is called keratoconus. As the collagen fibers get weaker and weaker, the more serious the keratoconus becomes. The disease can be hereditary or caused by constant eye rubbing, which also can make it gradually worse.
There are several different treatments for keratoconus. Corneal Collagen Cross-Linking is the only surgical treatment that can keep the disease from progressing. In another simple surgical procedure we often perform, we insert an Intacs into the eye to support the cornea. An Intacs is an inter-stromal corneal ring that looks like a plastic arc. This Intacs treatment does not stop keratoconus from progressing; it only makes your vision better and clearer. In minor cases, some patients can just wear glasses and contact lenses to help them see more clearly.
Fuchs’ dystrophy is the progressive degeneration of the endothelial cells in the cornea. The endothelium is the innermost layer of cells in the cornea, and it helps the cornea hold and maintain fluid. When the endothelial cells deteriorate, it can lead to corneal swelling and blurry vision. Fuchs’ disorder can be hereditary and is sometimes characterized by blurry vision in the morning which gradually clears throughout the day. There are several treatments for Fuchs’ disorder beginning with observation, eye drops, and partial thickness corneal transplant surgery.
Also known as corneal abrasion, a corneal scratch is one of the most common eye injuries. It can be caused by accidentally scratching the eye with a fingernail, getting sand or a foreign body in the eye, something hitting the eye, and improper use of contact lenses. Some symptoms can be redness, pain, and sensitivity to light.
The most common treatment for a corneal abrasion is combining prescription antibiotic drops and a bandage contact lens. Most scratched eyes can be treated easily without any major treatments.
Deciding between treatment options is hard. It's really hard. That's why we have a team of counselors to help you weigh your options and choose which surgery or treatment is best for you. After you meet with one of our eye doctors, you'll sit down with one of our counselors, Andrew, Andrea, or Isabella, and they will walk you through your doctor's recommendations. Sometimes there are several options to choose between, and your counselor will show you what to expect from each and help you make a decision. Schedule a consultation with our counselors today!