Corneal diseases

The cornea is the curved, transparent part at the front of the eye, which covers the iris and the pupil and acts as the natural lens.

It may be affected by various conditions impairing its transparency, which are generally caused by a virus or bacteria.

  • Corneal abrasion covers all injuries (scratches, cuts, grazes) that affect the epithelium, the outer layer of the cornea.
  • Corneal erosion is the loss of the epithelium, which usually occurs when an object touches the surface of the eye (lenses, arm of glasses, finger), remains in the eye (dust, a fragment of glass), or strikes it violently (a football, a tennis ball).
  • Keratitis is an inflammation of the cornea, often caused by a bacterial infection, particularly in contact-lens wearers.
  • Keratoconus is a gradual deformation of the cornea, which loses its spherical shape by becoming thinner and eventually taking the shape of an irregular cone. This disease, which causes vision problems, generally occurs at the end of adolescence.
  • Fuchs’ dystrophy is a progressive disease that causes premature ageing of the corneal cells and therefore a loss of corneal transparency.

Corneal disease treatment

Non-invasive treatments include eye drops (lubricating drops or artificial tears), eye ointments or eye patches. In the event of an infection, antibiotics and antiviral medication are prescribed to treat the germs responsible.

If non-invasive treatments can no longer stop the disease, a corneal graft (keratoplasty) is recommended. The aim is to replace the diseased part of the eye with healthy tissue, taken from a donor. There are two types of corneal graft:

  • A complete (penetrating) corneal graft, where the full thickness of the central cornea is replaced.
  • A partial (lamellar) corneal graft, if the disease only affects one of the layers of the cornea.

There is a risk of the graft being rejected; this occurs in around one in ten cases after the operation.

Your specialist will determine the best procedure for your condition during an in-depth examination using advanced imaging techniques.

Corneal disease symptoms

Decreased vision, sensitivity to light, pain, tingling, tearing, double vision, distorted vision