Dr. Choong Yean Yaw
MBBS (Mal), FRCS Ed, M.Med (S’pore), Am (Mal), Corneal & Refractive Surgeon
The cornea is the clear, outer layer of the eye. It is also called the window of the eye. It helps to protect the eye as well as assist in focusing light.
Corneal disease refers to many adverse conditions that may impair this part of the eye. These include injuries, infections, autoimmune disorders, hereditary disorders, and the aging process. Depending on the severity of damage to the cornea and whether it is the acute or chronic onset of the problem, the eye may present with one or more of the following symptoms: Pain, redness, sensitivity to light, tearing, and blurring of vision. In most cases, a consultation with an eye doctor is strongly recommended. Treatment will depend on the clinical findings.
Injury with a foreign body embedded on the cornea is one of the commonly encountered eye injuries. In most cases, the foreign body can be removed in the clinic by the eye doctor with special equipment. Most of these cases will recover well with good vision. However, a number of patients will end up with poorer vision due to scarring of the cornea.
Injury to the cornea from various sources such as fingernail injury; accidentally poking the eye with tree bark, leaf, or branches; hit by an insect while riding a bicycle or motorcycle may lead to a severe corneal infection that may take weeks or months of intensive treatment.
Contact lens-related corneal infection is another common cause of corneal disease. The infection can get worse if not treated early and appropriately. It is one of the leading causes of corneal blindness worldwide.
Congenital abnormalities or hereditary disorders of the cornea may lead to cloudiness of the cornea or distortion of the shape of the cornea. This will cause various degrees of visual impairment depending on the severity of damage to the structure of the cornea. Corneas that recover from severe infection or injury may be ended with scarring that impair vision as well.
Fortunately, if the poor vision of the eye is solely caused by corneal diseases, then surgery to replace the diseased cornea with a donor cornea is possible to save the eye and improve the vision.