The front of your eye is protected by a clear covering called the cornea. Your cornea helps to transmit light that enters the eye and focus it on the retina — the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye. If your cornea becomes injured or diseased, it can have a marked effect on your visual clarity and cause other uncomfortable symptoms.
Corneal trauma and diseases require consultation with a knowledgeable expert. Dr. John Bokosky of Eye Care of San Diego has dedicated his career to the treatment of corneal diseases. After evaluating and diagnosing your condition, he will find an innovative treatment solution to restore your cornea to optimal health and improve your vision.
Keratoconus is an eye condition in which the cornea gradually thins and steepens. This can cause blurry, distorted vision, increased nearsightedness, astigmatism, and increased sensitivity to light. It tends to appear when a person is between their late teens and early 20s. Depending on the severity of the disease, keratoconus may be treated with small corneal inserts called Intacs, which are implanted into the eye to reshape the cornea. Another option is corneal crosslinking, which strengthens the collagen fibers in the cornea to delay or prevent it from distorting.
Corneal crosslinking is FDA-approved for the treatment of keratoconus. The in-office procedure saturates the cornea with riboflavin (vitamin B2) drops and activates the drops with an ultraviolet light. This combination strengthens the collagen fibers in the cornea to help strengthen it and stop the progressive thinning and bulging. Corneal crosslinking can be performed with the epithelium on or off.
Although corneal crosslinking cannot cure keratoconus, it can halt the progression of the disease and delay or prevent the need for corneal transplant surgery.
Fuchs’ Dystrophy is a disease in which the endothelium, or inner cornea, progressively deteriorates. Fluid begins to accumulate, causing swelling in the cornea. The cornea slowly loses its transparency, and vision becomes blurry. Other visual symptoms include increased sensitivity to light and glare. These symptoms are usually worse in the morning and lessen as the day goes on.
The treatment for Fuchs’ Dystrophy depends on how advanced the disease is. The first line of defense is normally eye drops or ointments to reduce corneal swelling. In serious cases of Fuchs’ Dystrophy, corneal transplant may be needed to restore clear vision.
Corneal transplant surgery removes and replaces a damaged or diseased cornea with healthy donor tissue. It is one of the most commonly performed transplant operations and has a very good success rate. Corneal transplant surgery may be needed to treat corneas affected by keratoconus, Fuchs’ Dystrophy, scarring and ulcers.
Historically, corneal transplant surgery removed and replaced all five layers of the cornea. More recently, surgeons have adopted techniques in which they target specific layers of corneal tissue. In the right cases, this approach allows for better visual outcomes, a quicker recovery and reduced risk of complications.
A corneal ulcer is an open sore on the cornea that can result from an untreated injury to the cornea. If you wear contact lenses, you are at a slightly higher risk of corneal ulcers if you wear your lenses for many hours or overnight. Other risk factors include bacterial and viral infections.
It is critical to identify and treat a corneal ulcer as early as possible to prevent serious complications.
Contact Eye Care of San Diego
If you have been diagnosed with a corneal disease and would like to discuss your treatment options with a knowledgeable expert, please schedule an appointment at Eye Care of San Diego. Please contact us today to book your visit.