Corneal Conditions and External Eye Diseases
Conditions and Treatments
The cornea is the clear protective shell the covers the eye. The healthy cornea is transparent to let light through without distortion but if the cornea is damaged it may become swollen or scarred producing glare or distortions.
A wide array of conditions can affect the cornea. Some of the most commonly conditions include pterygia, keratoconus, corneal swelling, dry eyes and corneal trauma (damage to the cornea).
Caused by excessive exposure to wind and sun, a pterygium is a flap of scar tissue that grows across the cornea. This tissue creates an imperfection in the corneal surface that can block or distort light as it enters the eye. Typically surgery is needed to remove the pterygium, putting healthy transplanted tissue in its place.
Keratoconus is a progressive disease of the cornea, where there is a gradual thinning of the central corneal tissue producing corneal scarring. If it is discovered early, keratoconus can be managed with special contact lenses, however if the disease is severe a corneal transplant may be needed.
Normally, our eyes produce enough tears to keep them moist and feeling comfortable. Dry eyes happen when your eyes either do not make enough tears or the quality of the tears is poor. The most common symptoms of dry eyes are burning/stinging sensation, eye redness, scratchiness, blurry vision, and excessive tearing. Dry eye symptoms can make it more difficult to perform your regular daily activities, such as driving (especially at night), reading, watching television or working on a computer.
If your eye stays red, irritated, or painful for several days you should schedule an appointment with your eye doctor.
Treatment for Dry Eyes
Artificial tears are the main treatment for dry eye. They keep them eye moist and help with the symptoms of dry eye. You can buy artificial tears at the pharmacy without a prescription. They come in liquid, gel, or ointments. Your eye doctor or optometrist can help you decide which form is best for you.
Another approach to treat dry eyes is conserving your naturally produced tears. Tears are drained from the eye through tear ducts in both eyelids. Your eye doctor may recommend closing these channels with plugs to create a blockage which will keep the eyes moist for longer periods of times.
Artificial tears help with the symptoms of dry eyes temporarily, but they do not cure the condition or treat inflammation. For some people, inflammation may be the cause of dry eyes. RESTASIS® treats the inflammation which can help you to produce more of your own healthy tears.