Corneal Disease

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What is corneal disease?


Everything you need to know about corneal diseases


Corneal disease refers to many conditions that affect your cornea – the clear window at the front of the eyeball. It is a unique part of the body which is designed to be transparent and crystal clear. You can see the coloured iris and the pupil through the cornea.

The cornea has many functions; one is to help focus light rays on to the retina, the light-sensitive film at the back of the eye to form an image. This image is then transmitted to the brain.

When the cornea is damaged by corneal disease, it can become less transparent, or its shape can change. This can prevent light from reaching the retina and causes the image transmitted to the brain to be distorted or unclear.

Corneal disease can be caused by: 

  • Infectious keratitis
  • Fuch’s endothelial dystrophy
  • Corneal dystrophy
  • Recurrent corneal erosion / corneal abrasion
  • Eye surface tumour
  • Stem cell deficiency

Corneal emergencies

It may be necessary to see a specialist if you experience any persistent or progressive symptoms with your eyes, such as:

  • Red
  • Uncomfortable
  • Painful
  • Sensitive to light
  • Reduced vision

What is Infectious keratitis?

Infectious keratitis is a severe infection of the cornea, the transparent and most anterior part of the eye. It is typically caused by contact lens wear.

How do you treat infectious keratitis?

My expertise in managing eye surface diseases and infections means that you are in the best hands to treat your eye infection.

Early treatment is necessary to prevent any damage to the cornea as an infection could lead to corneal scarring, melting or loss of vision within 48 hours.

I can treat milder infections with intensive drops that you can administer yourself at home. More serious infections may require admission to hospital for intensive day and night eye treatment.

If the vision is severely affected, surgical intervention, lasers and collagen cross-linking may be necessary to manage it.

What is Fuch’s endothelial dystrophy?

Fuch’s endothelial dystrophy is an inherited condition that affects the endothelium, the delicate innermost layer of the cornea. It occurs when the endothelial cells gradually deteriorate over time. Once lost, these endothelial cells do not grow back, leading to the clouding of the cornea, swelling and impaired vision.

In the early stages of the disease, patients experience increased glare and sensitivity to light. As the condition progresses, vision may become blurred in the morning, then sharpen throughout the day. As the condition worsens further, vision may appear blurry throughout the day.

Fuch’s corneal dystrophy affects both eyes and is slightly more common among women than men. It usually starts to develop at around 30 to 40 years of age with no apparent cause.

How do you treat Fuch’s endothelial dystrophy?

Our standard method to treat Fuch’s endothelial dystrophy is endothelial cell transplantation. This is where we take the cells and implant them into the eye. We use two techniques, the descemet’s stripping endothelial keratoplasty (DSEK) or descemet’s membrane endothelial keratoplasty (DMEK).

If the vision becomes severely impaired, a corneal transplant may be required.

What is Corneal dystrophy?

Deposits of various materials within the cornea leads to irregularity in corneal surface and can result in a painful, watery eye from corneal erosions (scratches on the cornea). Sensitivity to light is also a major issue.