Corneal Opacity

Corneal Opacity

(Corneal Opacification; Cloudy Cornea)

Definition

Corneal opacity is scarring of the cornea. This is the clear front layer of the eye.

This problem makes it hard for light to pass through the cornea to the retina. The cornea may also look white or clouded over.

Causes

This problem is caused by infection, injury, or swelling of the eye.

Risk Factors

Things that may raise the risk of this problem are:

Ocular Herpes

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Symptoms

Problems may be:

  • Vision decrease or loss
  • Eye pain
  • Feeling like there is something in the eye
  • Eye redness
  • Excess tearing
  • Light sensitivity
  • An eye that looks cloudy or milky

Diagnosis

The doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done.

Your eyes will be tested. This can be done with:

  • A sight test
  • A special scope and lamp that look at the back of the eye
  • A tool that measures the pressure inside the eye

Treatment

Treatments depend on the cause of the scarring and how severe it is. Medicines may be used, such as antibiotics, steroids, or both. They may be given as eye drops or taken by mouth.

Some people may need to have the scarring removed. This can be done with laser surgery. People with severe symptoms may need a cornea transplant.

Prevention

The risk of this problem may be lowered by:

  • Taking steps to avoid eye injury, such as wearing safety glasses when doing anything that may result in harm to the eye
  • Taking proper care of contact lenses
  • Seeking medical care for any potential eye infection

RESOURCES:

American Optometric Association
http://www.aoa.org
Eye Health—American Academy of Ophthalmology
http://www.eyesmart.org

CANADIAN RESOURCES:

Canadian Ophthalmological Society
http://www.cos-sco.ca

References:

Congenital Corneal Opacities. American Academy of Ophthalmology. Available at: https://www.aao.org/topic-detail/congenital-corneal-opacities-europe. Accessed March 23, 2021.
Corneal conditions. National Eye Institute website. Available at: https://nei.nih.gov/health/cornealdisease. Accessed March 23, 2021.
Trachoma. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/trachoma. Accessed March 23, 2021.
Williams K, Irani Y, et al. Novel therapeutic approaches for corneal disease. Discov Med. 2013 May;15(84):291-299. Available at:
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Accessed March 23, 2021.
Last reviewed December 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Daniel A. Ostrovsky, MD
Last Updated: 03/23/2021

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