WHAT IS THE CORNEA?
The cornea is the transparent layer of the eye that covers the inner structures of the eye, such as the pupil and iris. Its functional purpose is to serve as the primary focusing element of our eyes because the cornea bends light that enters the eye, allowing it to land precisely on the retina. A healthy cornea is often curved with a natural round shape, whereas a diseased or misshapen cornea can be too oblong or protrude outward. It is the shape of the cornea that decides how well light will be refracted in the eye, which is what determines how clear and accurate your sight is. There are a large number of corneal diseases or abnormalities that can impact the shape and function of the cornea, leading to a range of vision problems and weaker eye health.
At The Eye Center of Central PA, we aim to help our patients by diagnosing and managing a range of corneal disorders and diseases. We provide some innovative treatments, including gas-permeable contact lenses and other specialty lenses, to address some conditions in their early stages. However, patients requiring more advanced care (such as a corneal implant or cross-linking) are often referred to a specialist to ensure they receive the best care possible. Contact one of our Central Pennsylvania offices to schedule a comprehensive eye exam with a board-certified ophthalmologist.
Diseases and Disorders
Our board-certified ophthalmologists at The Eye Center of Central PA are highly trained when it comes to diagnosing a range of complex corneal disorders and abnormalities, ranging from common to the rarer. Some of the conditions we diagnose at our Central Pennsylvania locations include:
- Keratoconus: A continually progressing disease that results in the thinning and weakening of the cornea, which can distort its shape over time and affect a patient's vision
- Corneal abrasion: A surface trauma to the outer layer of the cornea, including a fingernail scratch, debris, or chemical burn
- Corneal ulcer: Develops when a corneal wound (resulting from trauma, contact lens overuse, dehydration, or infection) doesn't heal
- Corneal dystrophy: A term that comprises over 20 genetic eye disorders that can cause cloudy tissue to form in the cornea, reducing visual acuity
- Recurrent corneal erosion: A chronic condition that develops when the epithelial layer of the cornea begins to break down
- Exposure keratitis: Damage to the cornea caused by dryness when the eyelids cannot fully close
- Herpes keratitis: A contagious eye infection caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV)
- Neurotrophic keratitis: An incredibly rare disease characterized by reduced corneal sensitivity, leading to poor healing and an increased likelihood for injuries to form
- Anterior basement membrane: A commonly occurring disorder that impacts the cells of the epithelium, causing the tissue to fold and lay unevenly, often leading to distorted vision (such as blurry sight or double vision)
- Sjogren's disease: An autoimmune disease that affects tear and saliva production, resulting in dry eye and dry mouth
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"My visit was due to cataracts.I can't begin to explain how elated I am that I was referred to him.Very patient and knowledgeable.He knew what my issues were and I did not have to say much.His staff was very professional and made me feel at ease.I had my surgery and I couldn't be happier.I would definitely refer Dr. Ou."- J. / Healthgrades / Aug 04, 2020
"The crew at this office is great. Very attentive and efficient. Dr. Hensel is down to earth and knows his stuff. So happy with my new multifocal contacts. I can now see near and far without glasses!!! 👍"- P.W. / Google / Jul 01, 2020
"Excellent surgeon"- P. / Healthgrades / Feb 14, 2020
SIGNS OF CORNEA ABNORMALITIES
Many corneal conditions exhibit obvious signs of disease or another abnormality while others might not result in any symptoms immediately, if at all. This is one of the reasons why it's essential to attend yearly or biennial eye exams at The Eye Center of Central PA. Symptoms of a corneal disorder can vary from minor to severe, and when left untreated, a few can lead to extreme discomfort or even reduced sight acuity.
A large number of frequently occurring cornea disorders and diseases cause the following symptoms to manifest:
- Discomfort or pain in or around the eye
- Swollen, bloodshot, or inflamed eyes
- Sensitivity to light
- Fuzzy or distorted vision
Men and women currently experiencing cornea disease or trauma could notice a single one or many of these signs. Depending on the disorder, some patients may even experience none of them.
WHAT Causes CORNEAL ISSUES?
The majority of corneal disorders have genetic links. This means that if you have a family history of a particular cornea disease, your chances of developing the condition are higher. If this situation describes you, then it may be especially vital for you to attend your yearly comprehensive eye examinations. For many individuals, an early diagnosis is the best way to avoid potential vision loss. Early diagnoses are also essential when it comes to identifying any signs of corneal trauma so you can be referred to a specialist as early as possible.
WHAT ARE MY OPTIONS?
Our team can help patients manage some cornea conditions when they are in the early stages of the disease. For those with early-onset keratoconus, we may offer gas-permeable contact lenses or other specialty lenses to help with the cornea's curvature. We also provide new and innovative amniotic membrane treatments to address certain defects, such as corneal scratches. While the ophthalmologists at our Central PA offices diagnose a large number of corneal disorders and injuries, we often refer patients to a cornea specialist to receive more advanced treatments, such as corneal transplants.
At The Eye Center of Central PA, we work diligently to diagnose and help patients manage corneal diseases and disorders that may be harming their total eye health. When you arrive at one of our offices throughout Central Pennsylvania, we will conduct a thorough eye exam using the latest technologies and diagnostics available in the industry. Get in touch with a member of our team now to schedule your yearly appointment, and take the initial step toward attaining improved sight.