The cornea is the clear part of the eye that covers the iris and the pupil – it allows light to enter the eye. Various injuries or disorders can affect the cornea’s functions, and in serious cases, result in vision loss.
The cornea can be affected in specific areas; it may occur on the upper portion of the cornea or impact the innermost layer of the cornea (the endothelium). Infections and traumas can cause corneal scarring on the surface of the cornea while the endothelium can become swollen due to injury or cloudy due to ageing.
The types of conditions that affect the upper part of the cornea include anterior scars, anterior dystrophies (rare genetic condition that causes blurriness), keratoconus (bulging of the cornea), and infectious keratitis (caused by bacteria).
The endothelium on the other hand can be affected by certain degenerative diseases like Fuch’s endothelial dystrophy (caused by deteriorating corneal cells) and bullous keratopathy (failure of the endothelium to maintain the transparent and dehydrated state of the cornea).
Most conditions of the cornea can be treated if spotted early. In the event where a corneal transplant is needed, the diseased cornea is replaced with a healthy donor cornea. Corneal transplants may be required as an emergency treatment for severe eye infections or to restore portions that are very thin or that have degenerated.