Cornea And External Diseases

As one of America’s largest and most respected centers for medical and surgical eye care, you can rely on the Dean McGee Eye Institute team to provide premier cornea and external eye diseases treatment.

What Is The Cornea?

The cornea is the outer protective layer of the eye, serving as a barrier against dirt, foreign objects, germs, and any other outside threats that may cause damage. It’s also responsible for filtering out some of the ultraviolet light caused by the sun. 

This part of the eye is crucial when it comes to your overall vision. When light enters the eye, the curved edge of the cornea refracts and bends it, which plays a key role in determining your eye’s ability to focus. If the cornea is affected by things like disease, infection, or injury, it will have issues properly handling the light entering the eye, directly leading to a wide range of related vision problems.

Signs Your Cornea Isn’t Healthy

There are a wide range of corneal issues that can create noticeable symptoms, including pain, excessive tears, blurry vision, redness, and abnormal sensitivity to light. Signs of a damaged cornea can include inflammation, degeneration, allergies, infections, injuries, and inherited dystrophies, and more. Additionally, redness, tearing, light sensitivity, headache, blurry or decreased vision, and eye twitching are all signs of a scratched cornea, also called a cornea abrasion. If you notice any of these signs or symptoms, reach out to our office at your earliest convenience. We provide corneal abrasion treatment along with various other treatment options.

What Can Cause Corneal Diseases?

Infection is one of the most common causes of corneal diseases, along with aging, eye trauma, and problems that stem from contact lens usage. Heredity can also be a potential cause. 

There are other eye diseases that can cause issues with the cornea, including vernal keratoconjunctivitis and retinitis pigmentosa. Systemic diseases such as Down syndrome, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, and osteogenesis imperfecta can also lead to the development of corneal diseases.

Common Corneal Diseases and Conditions

Click below for in-depth information regarding specific common corneal diseases and conditions:

  1. Keratoconus – This condition causes the normal aspheric shape of the cornea to be distorted and develop into a cone-like bulge. We provide premier keratoconus treatment.
  2. Dry Eye – This is a common condition that can become a chronic problem — especially for older adults. You’re at a higher risk if you wear contact lenses or suffer from seasonal allergies.
  3. Pink Eye – Also referred to as conjunctivitis, pink eye occurs when there is irritation or infection in the conjunctiva — the clear tissue that covers the white part of your eye.
  4. Pterygium – Also referred to as eye web, pterygium is an elevated, pink-red lesion growing from the conjunctiva onto the cornea.
  5. Fuchs Dystrophy – Fuchs’ dystrophy is a disease of the cornea that occurs when the cells responsible for ensuring the flow of fluids in the corneal layer die off.
  6. Corneal Abrasion – These are a common eye injury that involves a scratch or scrape on the surface of the cornea — the outermost portion of the eye.
  7. Corneal Ulcer (Keratitis) – Also referred to as keratitis, a corneal ulcer is an open sore on the cornea — the clear, dome covering of the eye.
  8. Corneal Edema – Corneal edema refers to the swelling of the cornea. This condition is caused by a buildup of fluid in the cornea. When left untreated, it can lead to cloudy vision.

Treatment Options For Cornea & External Diseases

There are numerous treatment options are available for cornea and external eye diseases, with each option dependent on the specific issue and its underlying cause. The treatment options we offer at

Dean McGee Eye Institute includes the following:

  1. Cornea Transplant – A corneal transplant is a surgery that replaces the cornea. The new cornea is sourced from a donor and then transplanted onto the affected eye.
  2. DSAEK/DMEK Surgery – Also referred to as a partial thickness corneal transplant, these types of surgeries replace the endothelium, which is the innermost portion of the cornea.
  3. Corneal Cross-Linking – This treatment can halt the progression of keratoconus, and is the only FDA-approved cross-linking treatment.

Contact Dean McGee Eye Institute To Learn How We Can Help

Our mission is to provide world-renowned expertise and cutting-edge care to our patients, while advancing the frontiers of medical knowledge and training the next generation of eye specialists. The cornea and external disease specialists at Dean McGee Eye Institute  treat a wide variety of ocular conditions, including corneal dystrophies and degenerations such as keratoconus, corneal infections, eye infections, tumors of the conjunctiva and iris, dry eye, cataracts, allergic and atopic conjunctivitis, and inflammatory diseases such as episcleritis, scleritis, and uveitis. Reach out today to book an appointment with our providers.


Schedule An Appointment With Our Cornea and External Disease Experts

Our team would love to discuss your eye issues and possible treatment options to restore or improve your vision and comfort! Please call 405.271.1095 or 800.787.9017 today to schedule an appointment.

Patient Testimonials

He was nice, and personable. I felt comfortable. Knowing I’m blind in one eye is usually frustrating when I get my eyes checked, but he and the other gentleman that helped me made me feel relaxed, and got me fixed up and I left with a smile.
Rosaland Hudson