Corneal Diseases

Corneal Diseases: Overview

Corneal diseases, also referred to as keratopathies, are a group of conditions that affect the structural integrity of the cornea. Causes of the diseases can vary from simple infections, traumas, and abrasions to more complex causes like genetic abnormalities, autoimmune disorders, and neoplasias.

Most corneal diseases can be diagnosed through a complete eye examination. During the examination, the physician will look for any irregularities that could be signs of corneal disease such as opacification, thinning, edema, or thinning of the endothelial cells. In some cases, the physician may also opt for more specific tests such as culture, direct immunofluorescence studies, or confocal microscopy.

Types of Corneal Diseases

There are several ways to classify corneal diseases. Commonly used categories include structural abnormalities, infections, and inflammations. Here are some of the more common specific types of corneal diseases:

  • Degenerations: Fuch's Dystrophy, Pellucid Marginal Degeneration, Vernal Keratoconjunctivitis
  • Endothelial Dystrophies: Corneal Edema, Terrien's Marginal Degeneration
  • Infectious Diseases: Herpes Simplex Keratitis, Acanthamoeba Keratitis, Fungal Keratitis
  • Inflammatory Diseases: Thygeson's Superficial Punctate Keratitis, Scleritis, Beh├žet's Disease
  • Tumors: Limbal Cell Proliferation, Melanoma, Lymphoma

Treatment of Corneal Disease

Treatment of corneal diseases depends on the cause. The goal of the therapy is to stop the progression of the disease and restore the patient's vision. Medical treatments include antibiotics, antivirals, steroids, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, and immunosuppressive medications. In some cases, surgical interventions may be necessary to repair the affected area.

In severe cases, a corneal transplant may be the best option for restoring vision. In a corneal transplant, the affected cornea is replaced with a healthy donor cornea. This procedure is fairly safe and effective and can result in significant improvement in vision.