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Corneal Disease (cont.)

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How is corneal disease diagnosed?

An eye doctor will need to obtain a complete medical history and perform a careful examination of the eye and surrounding structures. The cornea is examined in detail using a slit lamp microscope. The doctor may also use eye drops and colored dyes to diagnose certain conditions. Additional tests are sometimes necessary, including topography and keratometry (to study the shape of the cornea), pachymetry (to study the thickness of the cornea), specialized microscopy, and laboratory studies in some cases.

What is the treatment for corneal disease?

Treatment is tailored to the individual disease and the individual patient. The underlying problem and contributing problems need to be addressed. Treatments might include medications, laser treatment or surgery, depending on the condition.

What are the potential complications of corneal disease?

Depending on the nature of the corneal disease, complications could include vision loss or chronic pain. It is important to discuss the natural course of the condition with your doctor and review treatment options to minimize complications.

Can corneal disease be prevented?

In some instances, corneal diseases are preventable. For example, good hygiene and regular vaccinations can protect against many infectious diseases. Glasses and sunglasses with 100% ultraviolet block can minimize damage from the sun's rays, including pingueculae, pterygium, and eye surface cancers (carcinomas). Following directions about the appropriate use and care of contact lenses can help avoid corneal damage. Safety glasses protect against many types of trauma. A healthy diet with plenty of omega-3-fatty acids and sufficient vitamin A are especially important for maintaining a protective tear film layer. Regular eye examinations can detect certain conditions in their earliest stage when they might be most easily treated.


Krachmer, Jay H., et al. Cornea: Fundamentals, Diagnosis and Management. 3rd edition. Mosby, 2010.

Reidy, James J. Basic and Clinical Course 2010-2011 Section 8: External Disease and Cornea. Revised edition. American Academy of Ophthalmology, 2010.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/31/2013


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