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The cornea is the outer transparent part of the eye, which appears black from outside. It is actually as clear as glass.

The two main attributes of a normal cornea is its transparency and shape. Transparency of the cornea is essential for efficient transmission of light to the retina (the light sensitive layer at the back part of the eye, where the image is formed for vision). The shape of a normal cornea provides for 75% of the optical power of the eye (the other 25% being provided by the lens inside the eye), and a normal shape is essential for accurate focusing of the image on the retina for perfect vision.

How to protect your cornea?

  • Avoid contact with chemicals, like acids and alkalis (particularly lime), which can cause permanent damage to your cornea and eyesight. In such a case, wash the eye with plentiful clean tap water and consult an eye doctor immediately.
  • Use eye protection in circumstances where there is a high risk of injury to the eye (eg. contact sports, working/playing with sharp objects, working with hammer and chisel, exposure to ultraviolet light from welding arcs). The best eye protection is provided by polycarbonate glasses. Plastic (fibre) glasses also provide significant protection
  • Minimize eye-rubbing and touching your eyes with your fingers, particularly if they are not clean.
  • Avoid using any eyedrops (particularly steroid eyedrops) without consulting your eye doctor.

Corneal diagnostic tests available at Susrut

  • Specular microscopy – to assess the cell layer (i.e endothelium) on the back surface of the cornea, which dehydrates the cornea and keeps the cornea transparent.
  • Corneal topography – to diagnose abnormalities of the shape of the cornea.
  • Corneal pachymetry – to determine the thickness of the cornea
  • Ultrasound biomicroscopy (UBM) – to assess the structure and thickness of the cornea as well as the part of the eye immediately behind the cornea.
  • Wavefront aberrometry – this measures the optical quality of the cornea as well as the entire eye.
  • Microbiology – to determine the nature of germs causing corneal infections.

Corneal treatments available at Susrut

  • Refractive surgery (LASIK) – to correct errors in refraction, so that patients do not need to wear glasses. We do standard LASIK, wavefront guided LASIK as well as topography guided LASIK.
  • Contact Lenses – To avoid wearing glasses, in patients who do not want or are not suitable candidates for LASIK.
  • Specialty contact lenses – for corneal shape abnormalities, like keratoconus.
  • Collagen cross linking (CXL) – treatment for keratoconus, in which the shape of the cornea changes from spherical to conical. This treatment arrests the progression of the disease.
  • Corneal gluing – In cases where there is a small perforation of the cornea.
  • Penetrating keratoplasty (PKP)– in situations where the entire thickness of the cornea is opaque, full thickness of the cornea is replaced with a donor cornea from a deceased person. This is also done at times to remove corneal infections (when they do not respond to eyedrops) or when there is perforation of the cornea
  • Deep anterior lamellar keratoplasty (DALK) – in cases where there is opacification of the front part of the cornea, only the front part of the cornea is replaced.
  • Descemets stripping endothelial keratoplasty (DSEK) – in situations where only the back part of the cornea (the endothelial cell) is damaged, only the back part of the cornea is replaced. This happens following cataract surgery in a small proportion of patients
  • Keratoprosthesis – in cases where there is a high risk of donor cornea not remaining clear, a plastic is inserted into the donor cornea
  • Amniotic membrane grafting (AMG) and limbal stem cell transplantation (LSCT) – – in cases where there is surface damage of the eye (eg. chemical injury, tumors, etc)