The cornea is the clear, dome-shaped outer surface covering the front of the eye. The cornea is not connected to any blood vessels, which can make it vulnerable to infection. The cornea receives nourishment from the aqueous humor that fills the chamber behind it. If the cornea does not remain clear, it cannot refract light properly. If the cornea is covered by cloudy areas, eyesight is negatively impacted. There are many problems that can affect the function of the cornea; because of this, corneal problems are very common and many require surgery. For our patients in Chicago, cornea surgery may be used to address many of the issues that result from corneal problems.
Causes of Corneal Problems
There are many causes of corneal problems and each one should be taken seriously. For some of our patients in Chicago, corneal problems may be caused by refractive errors, keratitis, and keratoconus.
- Refractive errors: Myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism occur when the cornea is irregularly shaped. When the cornea is too steep or too flat, it cannot bend light correctly onto the retina.
- Myopia: Commonly referred to as nearsightedness, myopia is a result of the cornea having too much of a curve or of the eye being too long. Objects that are far away appear blurry for patients with myopia, which affects over 25 percent of the adult American population.
- Hyperopia: Commonly referred to as farsightedness, hyperopia is a result of the eye being too short. For patients with hyperopia, objects that are close appear blurry, while objects in the distance are clear.
- Astigmatism: With astigmatism, both near and far objects appear blurry. This is caused by an uneven curvature of the cornea. When astigmatism is present, the cornea becomes curved more in one direction than in another, whereas a normal cornea has even curves.
- Fortunately for patients in Chicago, LASIK can correct the corneal problems caused by myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism. For patients who do not qualify for LASIK, there are alternative surgical treatments available, such as PRK.
- Keratitis: Keratitis is an inflammation of the cornea. Infectious keratitis can be caused by bacteria, infection, fungus, and viruses. If left untreated, permanent damage can be caused, resulting in loss of vision. Symptoms of keratitis include eye redness, eye pain, blurred vision, sensitivity to light, swelling around the eye, and a feeling that something is in the eye.
- Keratoconus: Keratoconus affects one in every 2,000 Americans and is more prevalent in teenagers and adults in their twenties. In keratoconus, the cornea progressively becomes thinner and thinner, causing an outward bulge of the cornea. The cornea develops into a cone shape as a result of keratoconus. Severe astigmatism and myopia are likely with keratoconus. Some patients will develop swelling and scarring of the tissue that can impair sight. Many patients with this condition have a family history of keratoconus. Both eyes are usually affected. If keratoconus advances, some patients may require a corneal transplant. Fortunately, most patients will only require prescription contact lenses or eyeglasses in the treatment of keratoconus.
Contact Chicago Cornea Consultants™, Ltd. Today
To learn more about the many causes of corneal problems, please contact Chicago Cornea Consultants™, Ltd. today.