The cornea is the clear, protective outer layer of the eye. Shaped like a dome, it helps to protect the eye from foreign bodies and also plays an important role in vision.
A wide range of diseases and disorders can affect the cornea. Even seemingly minor eye irritations can lead to scarring and ulcers, so it’s important to seek prompt medical advice.
Some common corneal conditions are described below.
Depending on the specific corneal condition involved, symptoms may include:
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If you have pain, redness or swelling in your eye, your ophthalmologist will conduct a comprehensive eye examination. Some tests specifically highlight problems with the cornea. Other tests may help to rule in or rule out non-corneal causes.
If you suffer from a scratch or an injury to the surface of your eye, don’t rub your eye or touch your cornea.
If a foreign object is embedded in your cornea, do not attempt to remove it. Go directly to the emergency ward at your nearest hospital or see an ophthalmologist. It’s important to seek quick treatment to avoid potentially serious complications, such as an infection, a corneal ulcer or corneal erosion.
Tarsorrhaphy is a surgical procedure that is sometimes performed on patients with corneal exposure or abrasions. The eyelids are partially sewn together to narrow the opening and protect the cornea until healing is complete.
Treatment may include:
Treatment may include:
Treatment will depend on the severity and type of corneal ulcer and usually involves antibiotic eyedrops or ointment in the first instance. If the ulceration is in the centre of your eye, it may take longer to recover. An anti-fungal agent may be necessary if the ulcer was caused by a tree branch or dirt.
Corneal transplantation is reserved for severe cases that have failed to respond to other treatments.
Infectious keratitis requires urgent attention.
There are a number of ways to treat keratitis, depending on the cause. Your ophthalmologist will typically prescribe antibacterial, antifungal or antiviral eye drops or ointments to treat the infection.
Prescription eye medication, oral medication or, in some cases, intravenous therapy may be used for more severe cases.
While it’s not possible to cure ocular herpes, there are a number of treatments which may help manage or control the condition.
IMPORTANT: If you are concerned about your eyes and require an urgent consultation, DO NOT use this form. Please call one of our clinics during office hours or contact your nearest emergency department.