Signs You Need to See a Cornea Specialist

inflammation of the corneaYour cornea plays a very important part in your vision. It helps to focus the light coming into your eye and is responsible for over 65 percent of your eye’s focusing power.

The health of your cornea is of utmost importance, so you need to understand when it is time to visit a cornea specialist.

Fortunately, your cornea can repair itself quickly if you experience a minor abrasion. Deep or more serious abrasions may cause scars that form on the cornea.

Infection or general disease in your body can also cause scars and may block or distort light – causing your vision to be impaired.

Symptoms of corneal problems

Sometimes vision symptoms can arise that need to be addressed by a cornea specialist. These include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Excessive tearing
  • Pain
  • Redness
  • Sensitivity to light

These symptoms may be the result of minor problems or they may be an indication of a more serious condition. Either way, it is best to see a specialist to determine the severity of the problem and to begin treatment.

Corneal conditions

There are several diseases of the cornea that can lead to a damaged cornea.

  • Cornea degeneration
  • Dry Eye Syndrome
  • Herpes (Ocular)
  • Herpes (Zoster) Shingles
  • Keratitis


Corneal degeneration

Progressive structural problems with the cornea can cause degeneration. For instance, Keratoconus is a progressive disease where the cornea changes its shape and becomes thin. It may cause scarring, swelling of the cornea and may lead to a loss of vision.

Dry Eye Syndrome, or keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS), results from a lack of sufficient lubrication from natural tears and can lead to inflammation and scarring of the cornea.

Persons using CPAP machines (continuous positive airway pressure) for breathing issues, such as sleep apnea, may also suffer from dry eyes and may need to see a cornea specialist.

Causes of corneal degeneration

  • Eye disease
  • Eye trauma
  • Auto immune disorders
  • Genetics

Symptoms can also be caused by diseases such as Addison’s disease and Down syndrome. Auto immune disorders, such as Sjogren’s syndrome and rheumatoid arthritis, can also cause someone to experience corneal degeneration.

The treatment process may start out with glasses or contacts. If the condition continues or worsens, a corneal transplant may be necessary.

Herpes (Ocular)

Ocular Herpes is a viral infection of the eye, and can be a recurring problem. Herpes simplex is the same virus which causes cold sores. With ocular herpes, sores are created on the surface of the cornea. The inflammation may spread deep into the cornea and eye.

Herpes (Zoster) Shingles

Shingles is the reoccurrence of the chicken pox virus. The chicken pox virus remains active within your body’s nerves. People who have a weakened immune system, and older adults, are especially susceptible to shingles.

As the virus travels through nerves, it can affect different parts of the body – including the eyes. Shingles can cause lesions on the cornea. These lesions may heal themselves – antiviral treatment may be helpful in reducing the inflammation.


An inflammation of the cornea – keratitis can occur as a result of an infection, bacteria, fungi or viruses. Deep corneal injury, infection or even ulceration may occur. Injuries from wearing contacts may also be a cause.

Treatment may include antifungal or antibiotic eye drops as well as antiviral and steroid eye drops.


What does the Cornea do?

The cornea shares this protective task with the eyelids, the eye socket, tears, and the sclera, or white part of the eye. The cornea acts as the eye’s outermost lens. It functions like a window that controls and focuses the entry of light into the eye.

Vision Care Specialists

Symptoms of corneal disease need to be taken very seriously to prevent permanent damage to the eye. We, at Vision Care Specialists, have the experience and knowledge to treat corneal disease symptoms. Our professionals will be able to assess your condition and provide the best treatment available. Please contact us today for more information or to schedule an appointment.