Treatment of the Cornea

View 3D VideoThe cornea is the transparent window through which we see everything around us. This delicate structure is at the forefront of the eye, thus very vulnerable to injury and infection. Damage or injury to the cornea can cause pain and discomfort and can compromise our vision.

If you experience injury, irritation, or inflammation of the cornea, it is critical that you seek treatment by a qualified eye doctor in Las Vegas. While some corneal conditions are relatively minor and easily treatable, others can carry serious risks, including blindness.

If you would like to learn more about treatment of the cornea, click here to request a consultation online at Westfield Eye Center.

Identification and Treatment of Corneal Disruptions

There are several conditions which affect the cornea and require the attention of a qualified ophthalmologist. At our Las Vegas eye care center, we specialize in the treatment of corneal abrasions, corneal ulcers, and even rare conditions such as keratoconus.

Corneal Abrasions

Corneal abrasions are injuries to the surface of the cornea usually caused by a jab or a scratch to the eye, or by a foreign body getting into the eye. Often the abrasion occurs when debris or grit gets into the eye, and the eye is rubbed, scratching the cornea. Symptoms include foreign body sensation, light sensitivity, redness, tearing, and swelling.

The treatment approach depends on the severity of the abrasion. Simple abrasions may require no specific treatment, but more severe abrasions may require antibiotic treatment and medicated drops to soothe and protect the eye. In some cases, a bandage contact lens may be placed on the eye to improve comfort and promote healing. Examination by a qualified eye doctor is necessary to identify any foreign body and to assess the extent of the damage to the cornea.

Corneal Ulcers

A corneal ulcer can form when the surface of the cornea is damaged, and may be sterile or infectious. While sterile ulcers - those with no infecting organisms - can be relatively painless and easy to treat, infectious corneal ulcers can pose serious risks, including blindness. Bacterial ulcers are extremely painful, and usually involve a break in the epithelium, or superficial layer of the cornea. Some highly aggressive strains of bacteria can cause severe damage and even blindness within 24 to 48 hours, so prompt treatment is critical.

There are numerous causes of corneal ulcers, but contact lens wearers, especially those who wear soft lenses, are particularly prone to them. Scrupulous contact lens hygiene is key to decreasing your risk of corneal ulcers. Bacterial ulcers are also associated with certain medical conditions, such as dry eyes, herpes simplex viral infections, and inflammatory diseases, to name a few.

Treatment of sterile corneal ulcers usually consists of decreasing the eyes inflammatory response with steroid drops, anti-inflammatory drops, and antibiotics. Bacterial ulcers require aggressive and swift treatment, sometimes requiring hospitalization. Antibacterial drops are applied as frequently as several times per hour, with antibiotic therapy, in some cases administered intravenously.

Keratoconus

In this uncommon condition, the central cornea undergoes progressive thinning and bulging, so that the cornea takes on the shape of a cone. Some cases of keratoconus are mild enough that vision can be corrected adequately with glasses. However, hard or gas permeable contact lenses are far more helpful in all but the mildest cases. When contact lenses are no longer satisfactory, corneal surgery, placement of intrastromal ring segments (Intacs®) or corneal transplant surgery is then necessary to restore functional vision.

To find out more about diagnosing and treating problems with the cornea, click here to request a consultation online with a qualified ophthalmologist in Las Vegas at Westfield Eye Center. Or, you may call our office at 702-362-EYES (3937) to schedule an appointment.

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