CORNEAL DISEASE - Overview, Facts, Types, Symptoms, Diagnosis & Medications


Corneal disease is any illness that affects the cornea. The cornea is the clear part of the that is located in the anterior section. It covers the pupil, which is the opening at the center of the eye, the iris  or the hued part of the eye, and the anterior chamber or the liquid filled within the eye. The cornea’s function is to refract light. It is in charge of centering a large portion of the light that enters the eye.

The cornea is made of proteins and cells, and doesn’t contain blood vessels. Blood vessels may cloud the cornea, which may keep it from refracting light appropriately and may limit vision.

Since there are no blood vessels found in the cornea, tears and the aqueous humor, which is a watery fluid in the anterior chamber, give the cornea its nutrients.

There are many types of corneal disease such as the following:

  • Infections
  • Trauma
  • Abrasions
  • Exposure to toxic chemicals
  • Dystrophies
  • Degenerative corneal disorders
  • Fuchs’ dystrophy
  • Map-dot-fingerprint dystrophy
  • Lattice corneal dystrophy
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Wegener’s disease
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Lupus
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Vitamin A deficiency
  • Allergies
  • Keratoconjunctivitis
  • Growths
  • Pterygium
  • Benign or malignant tumors on the eye’s surface
  • Ectasia or thinning
  • Keratoconus
  • Stevens-Johnson syndrome

Corneal disease may have the following symptoms:

  • Loss of vision
  • Burning or stinging
  • Pupils that are not the same size
  • One eye is not moving like the other
  • One eye is sticking out or bulging
  • Eye pain
  • Decreased vision
  • Double vision
  • Redness and irritation
  • Light sensitivity
  • Bruising around the eyes
  • Bleeding from the eye
  • Blood in the sclera or white part of the eye
  • Discharge from the eye
  • Severe itching
  • New or severe headaches


The doctor will obtain your medical history and perform a physical examination, with a special focus on the eyes. Other medical tests may be requested such as the following:

  • Slit lamp microscopy to examine the cornea
  • Topography
  • Keratometry
  • Pachymetry
  • Specialized microscopy
  • Tear film assessment
  • Cultures, biopsies, or blood tests



Treatment is given according to the individual disease and the unique needs of the patient. These treatments may include the following:

  • Medications such as eye drops containing antibiotics, antivirals or anti-parasites
  • Laser treatment
  • Surgery
  • Special contact lenses in keratoconus
  • Steroid eye drops for autoimmune and inflammatory eye disorders
  • Vitamin A supplementation for Vitamin A deficiency
  • Allergy medicines for allergic eye disorders
  • Artificial tears for dry eyes

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