Your Cornea: Conditions, Symptoms and Treatments
The cornea is located at the front of the eye where protection is vital to the health of the eye. This provides protection for the eye as much as possible but can be contaminated by bacteria or fungi. There are some symptoms known for when the eye is contaminated and for when other situations occur as well, for each symptom, there are treatments to help. Corneal transplants are the last resort for treating these symptoms but can be the best option for some cases.
The cornea is the transparent protective outer layer of the eye. It helps to protect against dirt, germs, and any other particle that can harm the eye. It also helps filter out some of the sun’s ultraviolet light. The cornea plays a critical role in vision as it refracts or bends light when it enters the eye. The three most important layers of the cornea are the epithelium, stroma, and the endothelium. The epithelium is the most superficial part of the cornea; it helps prevent external matter from entering the eye. The stroma is found behind the epithelium, it is made up of water and proteins giving it an elastic yet solid form, and it is the thickest part of the cornea. Lastly, the endothelium is a single layer of cells between the stroma and aqueous humor which works similar to a pump as it expels excess water that’s absorbed by the stroma.
Maintaining the cornea is vital to keeping the eye healthy and preventing any diseases from occurring. Depending on the environment, always protect the eyes as well as possible. Dietary supplements are also an excellent way to get the nutrition and vitamins that the body needs, however, be sure to check with a dietitian before taking supplements without it being recommended. However, the main way to keep the cornea healthy is through nutrition with foods such as fish, broccoli, walnuts, sweet potatoes, eggs, salmon, and carrots. Eating healthy with these such foods also help with the conditions of Fuchs’s dystrophy, corneal dystrophy, and keratoconus. Keratoconus is a well-known condition that very much affects the cornea, but other conditions such as ectasia and astigmatism are conditions that affect the cornea is significant ways as well. Keratoconus is when the cornea gradually thins and bulges into a cone shape. Astigmatism is when the lens or cornea has a different curvature in one direction. Lastly, ectasia is when the cornea bulges from being weakened from lasik surgery. To help prevent from experiencing any corneal issues refrain from smoking, sunlight exposure, and exercise regularly.
Treatment of corneal damage can be hectic to deal with which is why keeping the cornea healthy is vital to the eye. For ectasia and keratoconus, a non-surgical procedure named Holcomb CR-3 is used to strengthen the corneal structure. As for astigmatism contact lenses or glasses can be the solution for less severe cases; whereas, for more serious cases corrective surgery is the best solution. Corneal transplant is for the most severe of cases of a damaged or diseased cornea. A corneal transplant removes the damaged or diseased cornea and replaces it with a donor.
Since the cornea protects the eye in many ways taking care of it should be something that should be a priority that pays off in the end. Although the cornea does protect the eye in its ways, take the precautions mentioned above and be consistent with a routine.