Corneal Disease

At Palmetto Eye & Laser Center we have specialists on staff to evaluate and diagnose corneal disease such as keratoconus.

KERATOCONUS

Keratoconus is a condition that affects the cornea (the clear outer layer of your eye). Normally a round dome shape, if the corneal tissue begins to thin, it can begin to bulge out into a cone shape. Because the shape of the cornea becomes distorted, your eyesight also becomes distorted because light will not focus properly on the retina (back of the eye). This makes normal activities such as reading, watching TV, driving or working on a computer very difficult.

WHO GETS KERATOCONUS

Many people are surprised to learn that keratoconus usually affects people who are in their late teenage years or early 20s. This is a condition that affects 1 in 2,000 of the general population. The condition is hereditary in some cases. It may also be caused by an enzyme imbalance in the cornea that causes the corneal tissue to weaken.

SYMPTOMS OF KERATOCONUS

Not all patients will experience keratoconus symptoms right away.
In fact, it can progress over a 10-20 year period and result in symptoms such as:

  • Vision distortion
  • Blurry vision
  • Light sensitivity
  • Irritation
  • Glare
  • Ghosting

DSAEK CORNEAL TRANSPLANTS

Corneal transplant technology has come a long way. Today, rather than having a full corneal transplant, some patients are benefitting from Descement’s Stripping Automated Endothelial Keratoplasty (DSAEK) surgeries.

Also known as a partial thickness corneal transplant, the surgery involves replacing only the damaged section of the back inner layer of the cornea. Healthy donor tissue from an eye bank is also used for this procedure.

Full corneal transplants require that a patient’s entire cornea be removed and replaced with a donor cornea from an eye bank. While this method is very successful for restoring vision in patients with severe corneal damage, the surgery requires sutures to keep the new cornea in place, resulting in a long recovery time and greater potential for complications.

BENEFITS OF DSAEK

  • Only a small incision is necessary
  • Faster recovery time
  • Reduced risk of astigmatism
  • Greater integrity of the corneal tissue

PTERYGIUM

Pterygium is a noncancerous growth that looks like a raised white/pink tissue on the white of one or both eyes. It is often called surfer’s eye because it tends to affect people who often work or play outdoors, especially surfers.

While not typically a serious condition, pterygium can continue to grow until it covers the cornea, leading to distortion of the cornea (astigmatism) and blurred vision.

PTERYGIUM SYMPTOMS

  • Blurred vision
  • Redness
  • Burning
  • Itching
  • Feeling of something foreign in the eye

CAUSES OF PTERYGIUM

Pterygium tends to affect people age 20 to 40 and it is more common in men. There is no single cause of pterygium; however, there are certain conditions that may increase your risk:

  • Excessive exposure to UV light (being outdoors)
  • Exposure to dust, wind, sand and other irritants
  • Dry eye
  • Not wearing sunglasses or hats outdoors
  • Low humidity environments

PTERYGIUM EYE TREATMENT

Medicated or lubricating eye drops can help ease irritation caused by pterygium. If the lesion begins to threaten your sight or makes you feel self-conscious, pterygium surgery to remove the growth may be recommended. To reduce the risk of recurrence, doctors may perform an amniotic membrane transplant (AMT) graft where the former pterygium was located.

PROKERA® AMNIOTIC MEMBRANE TISSUE

Biologic corneal bandage device used by our doctors to promote healing of damaged eye surfaces and treat eye diseases. Prokera helps restore the patient’s cornea and improve the corneal tissue so it can return to a healthier state. Designated for anti-inflammation and anti-scarring; Prokera helps treat eye diseases such as keratitis, corneal scars, chemical burns, moderate-to- severe dry eyes, corneal ulcers, corneal abrasions, and other corneal damage.

PROKERA is a safe, effective treatment provided by a tissue bank regulated by the FDA. The tissue has passed many quality control tests before it is provided to your doctor.