The cornea is the curved outer dome of the eye. This clear, transparent membrane covers other eye anatomy, including the iris and pupil. The cornea functions as a protector for the eye and provides the eye with most of its optical power. The shape, or curvature, of the cornea determines how light enters the eye. Astigmatism, for example, is caused by an irregularly shaped cornea.
DSAEK (Descemet’s Stripping Automated Endothelial Keratoplasty) is a partial corneal transplant technique where the diseased posterior portion of the cornea is removed and replaced with healthy donor tissue obtained from an eye bank. Unlike conventional corneal transplantation, the DSAEK procedure utilizes a traditional much smaller surgical incision and requires no corneal sutures. DSAEK usually results in faster visual recovery and reduces the risk of sight-threatening complications that may occur with a traditional corneal transplant, such as intraoperative expulsive hemorrhage or postoperative traumatic wound rupture.
INTACS are prescription inserts used for treating keratoconus. Keratoconus is a condition that results in the progressive thinning of the cornea. As the cornea thins, it becomes shaped like a cone, distorting the patient’s vision. INTACS reshape the cornea to a more normal shape. The goal is to successfully fit patients with contact lenses or glasses again so their vision is restored. INTACS offer an alternative to restoring vision and potentially defer the need for a corneal transplant.
Minor Injuries & Infections
Due to its anatomical position, the cornea is prone to many types of injuries, from superficial scrapes to embedded foreign bodies. Without proper eye protection and safety, the cornea is susceptible to various eye injuries. Many minor scrapes or scratches may be treated with topical antibiotic drops or ointments. Sometimes, placing a pressure patch or bandage contact lens over an injured cornea is required for proper healing.
Contact Lens-Induced Problems
Improper contact lens care or excessive use can contribute to various corneal conditions. Corneal ulcers are caused by corneal tissue loss that can occur from bacterial or viral infection. Proper contact lens maintenance and regulation can help avoid painful corneal problems.
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