About The Cornea
The cornea is the outer, clear surface of your eye that plays a vital part in focusing light on the retina, helping you to see with clarity. Along with a clear lens inside your eye, a healthy cornea has normal shape and both will allow light to focus easily. But if your cornea is irregular in shape, or is not clear, and the lens is clouded, it could make it difficult for you to see with clarity. The cornea can be affected by a number of diseases and disorders, as well as trauma, which can affect your vision and your life. At ART Vision, led by fellowship-trained and board-certified ophthalmologist Dr. Alison R. Tendler, our team is experienced in the diagnosis and treatment of many cornea conditions. Using advanced techniques and state-of-the-art technology, we can help you maintain or improve your visual health so that you can live life with clear vision. Contact our Sioux Falls, SD facility today to schedule your visit.
Diseases and Disorders
ART Vision is familiar with many corneal diseases and disorders, including but not limited to:
Corneal Abrasion – This injury to the surface of the cornea and is considered a superficial scratch. It may be caused by a true injury to the eye, or sometimes occurs without any known trauma. A cornea scratch could also by related to the presence of a foreign body (ie. dirt, sand) or from poor contact lens use and wear.
Corneal Ulcer – Open, uncomfortable sores called ulcers can appear on the cornea, causing pain, temporary vision loss, and potentially blindness. They are most commonly caused by a bacterial or viral infection, but can also be caused systemic medical diseases that impact the ability of the eye to heal normally.
Keratitis – Keratitis is a general term meaning inflammation of the cornea. Most often caused by dry eye, or ocular surface disease, it can also be due to a viral or bacterial infection.
Keratoconus – This often slow, yet progressive corneal eye disease causes the cornea to change from a round shape to more of a cone-like shape. There are multiple levels of this disease state and it can impact your best vision and ability to see crisply.
Corneal Dystrophies – Corneal dystrophies refers to a group of progressive and mostly genetic eye disorders, which cause an abnormal accumulation of tissue one of the many layers to the window of the eye (cornea). The most commonly seen are anterior basement membrane dystrophy (ABMD) and Fuchs endothelial dystrophy (FED).
Pterygium – This growth begins in the thin, clear eye tissue (white part of eye) and slowly grows to cover the cornea. Though it is noncancerous, it may grow enough to cause irritation, redness, and a decrease in vision.
Salzmann's Nodular Degeneration - This common corneal disorder is caused by th build-up of opaque, fibrous material on the cornea that can lead to irregular astigmatism and decreased vision quality, even with glasses. Surgical removal along with phototherapeutic keratectomy (PTK) are options to restore clearer vision.
Conjunctival Laxity - As we age, the thin conjunctival tissue can become loose and lax, creating symptoms of tearing, redness, and foreign body sensation. This is often unrecognized and can have similar symptoms to dry eye. Another term for it is conjunctivalchalasis. Non-surgical and surgical options exist to treat this condition, depending upon its severity.
Some corneal diseases and disorders cause little to no symptoms. But for many, the symptoms of these conditions greatly affect their quality of life. If you are suffering from distorted vision and eye pain, you should schedule an exam with ART Vision. Symptoms most commonly related to corneal diseases and disorders include:
- Blurred or distorted vision
- Inflammation in one or both eyes
- Eye pain
- Sensitivity to light
- Excessive tearing (epiphoria)
Corneal diseases and disorders are, more often than not, genetic, which is why patients with a family history of cornea-related eye conditions should schedule and maintain regular eye examinations and be on the lookout for potential symptoms. In some situations, corneal conditions are caused by excessive eye rubbing or trauma to the eyes. No matter the cause, ART Vision can help with a number of surgical and nonsurgical treatment options that can help restore your vision and protect it from future impairment.
Diagnosis and Treatment
This process is FDA-approved for the treatment and management of keratoconus. Using riboflavin and ultraviolet light to strengthen and create new cross-links within the cornea, the eye process becomes stabilized, and sometimes mildly reversed. A minimally invasive procedure, cross-linking does not require surgical incisions and can slow or stop the corneal-thinning process and improve your visual acuity.
Corneal Transplant (DSEK / DSAEK / DMEK)
Descemet's Stripping Endothelial Keratoplasty (DSEK), Descemet's Stripping Automated Endothelial Keratoplasty (DSAEK), and Descemet's Membrane Endothelial Keratoplasty (DMEK) are surgical procedures that replace the inner layer of the cornea. Many people no longer need full-thickness cornea transplants, and the surgeries offer transplant opportunities for patients whose inner endothelial layer of the cornea has broken down. In the past decade, these surgical methods have become the procedures of choice for conditions like Fuchs' endothelial dystrophy.
Phototherapeutic keratectomy (PTK) is a minor surgical therapeutic treatment that removes a small outer layer of tissue from the cornea using an excimer laser. This procedure treats diseases that affect the surface of the cornea, as well as corneal injuries. Anterior basement membrane dystrophy (ABMD), recurrent corneal erosions (RCE), and Salzmann's nodular degeneration are often treated this way.
ART Vision is proud to provide a number of comprehensive treatment options for patients experiencing the symptoms of a corneal disease or disorder. If you believe you may have a cornea-related condition or have already been diagnosed, our team is happy to provide you with a thorough examination and create a treatment plan that is unique to your needs, helping you see clearer and improve the quality of your life. Contact our Sioux Falls, SD facility today to schedule your visit with Dr. Tendler and her team and discuss options to See the World Better and See Yourself Better.