Sitting right at the front of your eye, your cornea sits in front of the other parts of your eye, such as the lens, retina, and optic nerve. This small piece of tissue is the gateway to your vision, and a healthy cornea is key to maintaining your sight.
Stephen Khachikian, MD, the lead ophthalmologist at Black Hills Regional Eye Institute, helps patients maintain healthy corneas and treats cornea problems. Read on to discover three interesting facts about your cornea from Dr. Khackikian.
1. Your cornea works as a protective eye and vision layer
As the most outer part of your eye, the cornea works hard to protect the remainder of your eye structure. Clear and dome-shaped, the tissue acts as a barrier between potentially dangerous foreign objects and the rest of your eye.
Examples of what your cornea protects against include germs, dirt, and other particles. Your cornea even has the ability to block some of the sun’s UV rays from entering your eye.
A healthy cornea ensures you maintain your vision, both by protecting the eye and controlling light as it enters your eye. Thanks to the cornea’s curved shape, it bends light in such a way that helps you see objects close by and far away.
2. Your cornea has incredible self-healing abilities
While the cornea looks delicate, a healthy cornea has the amazing ability to repair itself. It often heals more minor forms of cornea disease without need for further medical intervention.
Issues the cornea can heal on its own include minor injuries and infections. During the healing process, which can take time, you might experience eye pain, tearing in the eye, sensitivity to light, redness in the eye, and blurred vision.
In some instances, these symptoms can also indicate more serious cornea conditions that require treatment with an ophthalmologist. Therefore, you should still always make an appointment with Dr. Khachikian when you experience them.
3. Cornea disorders can lead to losing your vision
In certain cases, diseases and injuries to the cornea are too deep for self-healing and require treatment from Dr. Khachikian. Serious diseases of the cornea include Fuchs' endothelial dystrophy, which causes swelling of the cornea, keratoconus, where your cornea becomes cone-shaped, and deep scarring of the cornea.
Initial symptoms of corneal disease include changes to your vision, such as difficulty seeing at night or in bright lights, cloudy or distorted vision, and inflammation or redness in your eye. Without treatment, these problems, and your vision, will continue to get worse.
Treatment for serious eye conditions range from minor noninvasive solutions to cornea surgery, such as corneal replacements or laser eye repair. Dr. Khachikian performs a full evaluation and diagnostic testing before recommending a treatment plan.
Dr. Khachikian serves patients at his office in Rapid City, South Dakota. If you’re experiencing any concerning symptoms in your cornea and would like to assess your eye health, schedule an appointment online, or call the office.