The cornea plays an important role in focusing your vision – it helps focus the light that comes into the eye and is responsible for over 65% of the eye’s total focusing power. That’s why it is crucial to ensure that your cornea is in it’s healthiest state possible in order to maintain clear vision.
What Is the Cornea?
The cornea is the clear surface that covers the front of the eye – the eye’s outermost layer. It acts as a barrier against dirt and particles that can harm the eye, working together with the eyelids, tears, and sclera (white part of the eye). Both the cornea and lens of the eye’s purpose is to to focus light on the retina, which is the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye. If there is any obstruction to the cornea (such as cloudiness), the image is not focused properly and in turn the retina makes a blurry image.
Corneal dystrophies share many traits, in that they are usually inherited, typically affect both eyes, progress gradually, and can occur in otherwise completely healthy individuals. These dystrophies can affect vision in vastly diversified ways. Some cause severe visual impairment, while a few cause no vision problems and are discovered during a routine eye examination, or can lead to episodes of pain without permanent vision loss. The treatment for a corneal dystrophy can also vary – it may be as simple as maintenance through routine eye exams or as involved as a corneal transplant.
One of the most common dystrophies is keratoconus, a progressive eye disease which causes the thinning of the cornea. As it progresses, the quality of vision deteriorates, typically making contact lenses unsuccessful.
In most cases, vision can be corrected with gas-permeable contact lenses or corneal transplantation in more severe cases. Intacs corneal implants are another exciting option for individuals experiencing intolerance to contact lens and are facing a corneal transplant. Dr. Leavitt is skilled in keratoconus diagnosis and treatment and can expertly provide any of these procedures.
The best way to determine whether or not a corneal dystrophy is affecting your vision is by scheduling a comprehensive eye exam at Bellevue LASIK & Cataract, where Dr. Leavitt is trained to identify and treat corneal dystrophy. Contact the Bellevue, Seattle, Monroe and Tacoma area eye specialists today to find out more!