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Facts about Cornea and Corneal Diseases

Cornea

Dr Ritika
Dr Ritika
5 min read

Did you know that cornea is one of the most sensitive tissues in the body? And a heavily innervated one as well? Research shows that the density of corneal pain receptors is 300-600 times more sensitive than the skin. This makes even the slightest injury in the eyes very painful. Out of all other components in the eyes, the cornea possesses about 75% of the eye’s focusing power. Domed in shape, transparent, and densely innervated, cornea covers the iris and the pupil. Cornea, along with the lens, refracts light and focuses on the retina. Apart from this, there are a few interesting facts about cornea that makes it unique from other tissues in the body:

  • It has a layered structure

It looks like a transparent covering, but the cornea is a highly organized tissue. It is made of five different layers, the epithelium is the outermost layer. The layer helps to absorb oxygen, nutrients present in tears and resists the entry of any foreign particles. Followed by this is Bowman’s layer made up of collagen (protein fibers) that can form scar tissue if the tissue gets damaged. Below the Bowman is a layer that accounts for 90% of the cornea’s thickness i.e., Stroma. Made up of water and collagen, it is responsible for providing the cornea its shape, strength, and elasticity. Fourth is the Descemet’s membrane that guards the eye against injury and infection. Lastly, Endothelium which helps to protect the fluid buildup in the Stroma and pump up the excess fluid to the other layers.

  • It has no blood vessels

This is what makes this tissue so unique. Since it does not contain blood vessels, they receive nourishment from the fluid that fills the chamber behind it i.e. the aqueous humor as well as from the tears that are formed every time people blink. The tears get distributed across the eyes and keep the eyes moist. This, in turn, helps to protect against infection.

  • It can heal itself

The cornea can usually recover itself from the minor scratches or injuries. Given proper care, it takes about 48 hours for the healthy cells present in the cornea to repair the minor corneal scratch. However, in case of significant injuries, you will experience symptoms like redness, blurred vision, headache, reduced vision, inflammation in the eye, or light sensitivity.
The cornea can heal minor scratches, there are certain diseases and disorders that can cause severe complications. If not appropriately treated, these can lead to vision impairment. Some of the common corneal diseases are:

    1. Keratitis:

      It is an inflammation in the cornea caused due to the bacteria and fungus entering the eye. This happens after an eye injury or injury caused by wearing a contact lens. Symptoms include corneal discharge, redness, severe pain, or blurred vision.

    2. Ocular herpes:

      Also known as herpes of the eye, this is caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV I). This is the same virus that causes cold sores and genital herpes. Ocular herpes causes sores on the eyelids inflammation in the eye. This disease is recurrent, and the person has a 50% chance of getting this disease if not treated thoroughly.

    3. Keratoconus:

      This type of malady thins and reshapes the cornea. The disease makes the cornea irregular or cone-shaped which affects our vision. It can happen in one or both eyes. This irregularity or the bulging in the cornea causes refractive errors such as nearsightedness or astigmatism. Symptoms include swelling, scarring of the cornea, and loss of night vision.

The aforementioned diseases require a diligent take on the treatment. At Centre for Sight, a privileged eye care centre, the eye patients are provided with all kinds of treatment for severe corneal disorders. The doctors have been treating the corneal related conditions for years and have helped the patients regain their vision. Consult the experienced eye doctors at Centre for Sight for quick diagnosis and healthy recovery. CFS specializes in offering advanced eye treatments such as SMILE laser eye surgery, LASIK, and other eye-based surgeries.