The cornea is the transparent front part of the eye that covers the iris, pupil, and anterior chamber. There are many causes that can put you at a higher risk of developing a disease of the cornea that can affect your vision for life. Let’s learn a bit more about what corneal disease is and then get into these specific causes.
What is Corneal Disease?
A corneal disease is a serious condition that can cause clouding, distortion, scarring, and eventually blindness. There are many types of corneal disease. The three major types are keratoconus, Fuchs’ endothelial dystrophy, and bullous keratopathy.
Causes of Corneal Disease
1. Age: The aging process can affect the clarity and health of the cornea. Corneal disease usually affects adults between the ages of 40 and 70, although it can develop earlier in life as well.
2. Heredity: Most cases of corneal dystrophy are inherited as an autosomal dominant trait with variable expressivity. Genetic diseases are determined by the combination of genes for a particular trait that are on the chromosomes received from the father and the mother. If corneal disease runs in your family, you are more likely to develop the disease as you age.
3. Contact lenses: There is a risk of developing an eye infection by wearing contact lenses, and infections can lead to long-term corneal damage. Keratitis is the most common infection from wearing contact lenses.
4. Infection: Bacterial, fungal and viral infections are common causes of corneal damage. As mentioned above, wearing contact lenses is a big cause of infection, so it is very important to properly care for your contact lenses if you wear them.
5. Eye trauma: Damaging your cornea will significantly increase your chance of developing a corneal disease in the long term. This is why regular eye protection and safety is so important to practice daily.
6. Cataract and intraocular lens implant surgery: Bullous keratopathy occurs in a very small percentage of patients following these procedures.
By being aware of these top causes of corneal disease, you’re able to be proactive and take the necessary steps to protect your vision. Start now by making an appointment for a comprehensive eye exam. Call us at (309) 243-2400.