Cornea and External Disease

The cornea is the dome-shaped, outermost transparent tissue that covers the front parts of the eye, including the iris and pupil. The cornea refracts light rays as they enter the eye onto the retina, allowing you to see clearly. Our physicians provide diagnosis and treatment for diseases of the cornea, sclera, conjunctiva, and eyelids.

Overview and Symptoms

Some of the more common cornea and external diseases that affect these eye parts include:

  • Corneal Abrasions—abrasion, or scratch, on the corneal surface
  • Corneal Dystrophies— makes the cornea lose their normal clarity due to a buildup of material that clouds the cornea. Dystrophies are inherited conditions which usually develop in both eyes
  • Conjunctivitis—an inflammation of the clear skin that covers the sclera and the inside surface of the eyelids. Usually known as “pink eye.”
  • Dry Eye—brought on by low tear production or poor tear quality
  • Keratoconus—a thinning disorder of the cornea that causes distortion and reduced vision
  • Pterygium—a pinkish, triangular tissue growth on the cornea of the eye likely caused by exposure to too much sunlight

Your eye doctor, or ophthalmologist, will review your medical history and perform a careful examination of the eyes and eyelids. The cornea is examined in detail using a slit lamp microscope. Additional medical testing may include topography and keratometry (to study the shape of the cornea), pachymetry (to measure the thickness of the cornea), specialized microscopy (providing detailed pictures to assess the health of the endothelial cells, or to identify infectious agents), and assessment of the tear film. In some individuals, cultures, biopsies, or blood tests are also necessary, depending on your condition.


Treatment is tailored to you and your individual disease. Treatments might include medications, laser treatment, or surgery, depending on your condition.

Ophthalmology (Eyes)

We provide state-of-the-art care for patients with a broad spectrum of common and rare eye conditions. Our physicians diagnose and treat patients with the latest medical, surgical, and laser procedures, specializing in glaucoma, cataract surgery, cornea and external disease, refractive surgery (Lasik, PRK), neuro-ophthalmology and orbit.

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