The cornea is the front window of the eye. It is the clear tissue that covers the iris (the colored tissue), pupil and lens. When the cornea becomes clouded or misshapen from disease, injury, or infection, it can be replaced with a human donor cornea transplant. The old cornea may be replaced entirely or partly depending upon the problem.
Keratoconus is a progressive eye disease causing weakness or ectasia of the cornea making the cornea “cone” shaped. Vision is distorted due to abnormal shape. Specialty contact lenses are used initially for treatment but some patients may progress and need surgery.
INTACS (Intra corneal ring implants) are tiny pieces of plastic that are implanted in the cornea to support the weak areas and improve the vision in eyes with mild or moderate keratoconus. More advanced keratoconus may need a cornea transplant to restore vision.
Fuch’s corneal dystrophy occurs in older patients whose cornea may turn cloudy with age. It is more common after cataract surgery (Pseudophakic corneal edema) and may require a corneal transplant.
Injuries and infections are the next most common reasons for cornea transplant surgery.
Anterior segment reconstruction may be necessary in badly injured eyes. This may include cornea, lens and iris repair. An artificial iris is sometimes used if extensive iris loss occurs from an accident.
External eye disease is a term we use to include any process that interferes with the normal function of the lids, conjunctiva, and cornea. This may include dry eye syndromes, allergy, eyelid problems, and infections of the outer eye. New treatments are available for most of these problems.
Dr. Charlton is a fellowship trained specialist in cornea and external disease. He will be able to help those patients who suffer from corneal diseases.