The cornea is the clear tissue on the front of the eye that helps focus light on the retina. It is the part of the eye on which a contact lens rests. A variety of conditions may affect the cornea, many of them treatable with medication or simple monitoring.
All of our doctors are fellowship trained, so they are able to diagnose and treat the full range of eye conditions.
Some common conditions treated at University of Colorado Hospital include:
Allergies – Common allergies to pollen, animals, cosmetics and other irritants may make the eyes red and itchy.
Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye) – Conjunctivitis causes swelling, itching, burning and redness in the conjunctiva, the protective membrane of the eye. Though the
condition is painless and does not affect vision, it is highly contagious.
Dry Eye – This condition indicates a problem with the production or drainage of tears. It is most common in dry climates, with older adults, and with the use of certain drugs.
Fuchs' Dystrophy – This slowly progressing disease causes the cornea to swell, distorting vision.
Herpes Zoster (Shingles) – A reactivation of the same virus that causes chickenpox may occur later in life often due to age or a weakened immune system. The virus may inflame and scar the cornea or cause decreased corneal sensitivity.
Keratoconus – Indicates a progressive thinning of the cornea, causing distortion in the shape of the eye. This distortion causes a refractive error, where light is not focused properly on the retina. Although initial correction may be done through eyeglasses and specially fitted contact lenses, a corneal transplant may eventually be recommended.
Although a pterygium may not affect vision, it remains a cosmetic concern.
Ocular Herpes – Also known as herpes of the eye. This recurrent infection is caused by the herpes simplex virus. It may cause painful sores on the eye or eyelid. More troubling, the infection may spread deeper into the cornea and develop into a more severe infection called stromal keratitis which can lead to loss of vision and possibly blindness. Herpes of the eye has affected an estimated 400,000 Americans, but can be controlled with proper treatment.
Pterygium – A pterygium is a pinkish, triangular-shaped tissue growth on the cornea. Often the effect is cosmetic and does not affect vision – but is, of course, noticeable. Because strong sunshine may be a factor in its development, sunglasses and sun protection are prudent precautions.
The doctors at University of Colorado Hospital diagnose and treat all corneal conditions from mild to extreme. We also perform corneal transplants.