The cornea, often referred to as the “window of the eye”, is the clear tissue at the front of the eye. A healthy cornea is essential for clear vision, as it is responsible for letting light into the eye to be focused onto the retina. Without a healthy cornea, eye health and vision quality can suffer. Here at Atlantic Laser Center, our Monmouth County cornea specialists are here to help you keep your cornea healthy and functional.
What is the Cornea?
Your cornea, while it looks simple, is actually made up of five distinct layers, each with it’s own purpose. The first, outermost layer, called the epithelium, is an extremely thin layer of tissue. The epithelium is made up of fast-growing and easily regenerated cells. The epithelial layer helps heal minor surface scratches and keep the eye from infection. These cells must be kept moist with tears to remain healthy. The second layer, called the Bowman’s layer, is a tough collagen layer that protects the stroma (the middle, and largest, layer of the cornea.) The transparent middle layer, called the stroma, makes up about 90% of the cornea’s thickness. The fourth layer of the cornea is referred to as Descemet’s membrane. This thin, acellular membrane serves as the basement layer to the endothelium. The innermost layer, called the endothelium, is a thin layer responsible for regulating fluid and nutrient transport into the stromal layer. Unlike the epithelium layer, endothelial cells do not regenerate. Loss of endothelial cells can result in a few different conditions.
The cornea, while much more complex and resilient than you may think, is still susceptible to many different conditions and diseases. These common and not-so-common diseases can be diagnosed and treated right here at Atlantic Laser Center.
Some corneal conditions include:
- Corneal abrasion. Corneal abrasions, or scratches on the cornea, are extremely common and are usually non-vision threatening. However, if you sustain an injury to the cornea, it is important to always consult an eye doctor to prevent infection.
- Dry Eye Syndrome. While not a disease directly associated with the cornea, dry eye syndrome can take a toll on the cornea. Over time, lack of tears can result in corneal scarring, which may require treatment by corneal transplant.
- Corneal ulcers. Corneal ulcers are the result of infection or inflammation of the cornea.
- Keratoconus. Keratoconus is a corneal degenerative disease that causes a misshapen cornea and blurry, distorted vision.
- Corneal Dystrophy. Corneal dystrophy comes in many forms, but always results in the clouding of the cornea.
If you would like to know more about corneal health or if you suspect you have a corneal disease, be sure to consult one of our cornea experts. If you have a corneal disease and are looking for treatment, contact Atlantic Laser Center serving the people of Little Silver, Red Bank, Asbury Park, Point Pleasant Beach and the surrounding communities and make your appointment today!