The cornea is the front surface clear tissue comprised of five layers that refracts light coming into the eye. It is crucial to have a healthy, moisturized cornea for clear vision. Certain conditions such as progressive pterygia, keratoconus, pellucid marginal degeneration, anterior basement membrane dystrophy and Fuch’s endothelial membrane dystrophy can disrupt the corneal tissue to such a degree that limits best-corrected visual acuity in a patient. Moderate and severe dryness of the corneal surface can also lead to vision impairment. Progressive stages of these conditions need close attention and treatment.
The eye relies on a constant flow of tears to provide lubrication and moisture for vision and comfort. Tears are secreted by special glands around the eye and when there is an imbalance in the tear flow, dry eyes result. Symptoms may include pain, light sensitivity, a gritty sensation, itching, redness, blurry vision, or a feeling of a foreign body in the eye. Sometimes dry eye causes an excess of tears running down the cheeks (known as “reflex tearing”), which happens when the eye experiences irritation from dry eyes.
Dry eyes can be diagnosed by your eye care specialist and treatments may include drops and ointments, and nutritional supplements such as omega-3 fish oil. Severe dry eye can be treated with punctal plugs in a procedure known as punctal occlusion.
Punctal occlusion is a medical treatment for dry eye that enables your eyes to make better and longer use of the few lubricating tears they do produce. Also known as Punctal Plugs, tiny biocompatible devices are inserted into tear ducts to block drainage. This procedure increases the tear film and moisture to relieve dry eyes. Punctal Plugs can be either temporary or permanent and can be inserted with only slight discomfort. After the procedure, you should be able to drive and resume normal activities. California Eye Professionals eye specialists can give you additional information on this procedure.
Dry eye syndrome is managed through the use of artificial tears and prescription-strength drops that can help the lacrimal gland produce more tears. Sever dryness can otherwise cause blurred vision and discomfort if not addressed. A pterygium is a tissue growth that begin on the nasal and/or temporal edges of the cornea that is due to and progressed by exposure to ultra-violet light. Mild cases of pterygia can be managed non-surgically with UV protection and artificial tears for lubrication. Progressive pterygia can cause vision impairment if growth crosses the visual axis and can lead to increase in astigmatism; pterygium graft surgery can be performed to remove the growth and reduce any astigmatism it may be causing.
Normally the cornea has a dome shape, held in place by a protein called collagen. When these fibers become weak, they cannot hold the cornea’s shape and the cornea becomes progressively more cone shaped. This condition is called keratoconus.
Keratoconus may run in families so if you have it and have children, it is good to have their eyes checked for this condition starting at age 10.
Changes in the shape of the cornea can happen quickly or may occur over several years. These changes can result in blurred vision, glare and halos at night. Severe keratoconus can lead to corneal tear or scarring.
Keratoconus and Pellucid Marginal degeneration are conditions in which there is progressive thinning of the central or inferior cornea causing corneal steepening. Spectacle correction in these conditions may not provide adequate visual correction; specialist contact lenses such as rigid-gas permeable or hybrid lenses may be needed for better visual acuity. Advanced cases may require surgical intervention with a corneal transplant.
Anterior basement membrane dystrophy affects the top surface layers of the cornea, causing it to have an irregular surface that can lead to vision decrease. Fuch’s endothelial dystrophy affects the innermost layer of the cornea, the endothelium. In this condition, the endothelium does not regulate the influx and out-flux of fluid appropriately and and lead corneal swelling, thereby leading to vision issues. These conditions can also be treated with eye drops and in more sever cases may need surgical intervention.
Call California Eye Professionals at: 1(888) EYE-PROS or 1(888) 393-7767 today to schedule an appointment!