The cornea is the outermost layer of the eye. It is smooth, clear and referred to as the window of the eye, because the cornea allows light to pass through to the eye. The cornea also helps to shield the eye from harmful matter, such as dust and germs. It is responsible for about 65 percent of focusing power for the eye. When light enters through the cornea, it bends and refocuses the light to the retina, which begins translating the light into vision. In order to see clearly, the light rays must be precisely focused when going from the cornea into the retina. An irregular corneal surface is common and may be caused by a number of different reasons, such as genetically inherited, injury, disease or natural occurrences.
The cornea is made up of five individual layers, the epithelium, bowman’s layer, stroma, descemets membrane and the endothelium, which is the innermost layer. In order to see clearly, each of these layers must be free from any opaque or cloudy areas. If there is an irregular surface, it interferes with the light being corrected transmitted to the retina, which interferes with your vision. Some of the most common causes of an irregular cornea include:
- Keratoconus is a hereditary condition that causes an irregular cornea due to weak fibers of collagen in the eye. When the collagen weakens, it causes the cornea to bulge outwards and lose the round shape, which causes blurry vision. In many situations, Keratoconus can be treated with contact lenses.
- Keratectasia occurs when there is too much tissue taken from the cornea during LASIK eye surgery. Keratectasia, like Keratoconus, causes the surface of the eye to bulge or the flap may have been cut to deep, resulting in a weakened cornea and distorted vision.
- Irregular astigmatism results when a flap wrinkle causes bumps on the surface of the cornea. An irregular astigmatism causes double vision and can typically be treated with laser surgery.
- Central cornea islands is the result of cornea tissue that is not uniform, so it creates tiny bumps on the surface of the cornea. This disorder typically heals on its own, however, in some situations, enhancements or contact lenses may be used to smooth the surface of the cornea.
- Map-Dot-Fingerprint Dystrophy (MDF) is a disorder that causes the surface of the cornea to have irregular ridges. The ridges causes blurred vision and may cause some people to have recurrent cornea abrasions.
An irregular cornea condition is never pleasant and they are common, but it is important to consult a professional as soon as possible. An infection to the cornea as well as an irregular cornea can cause serious problems with your vision, but with aggressive and proper treatment, in the majority of situations vision can be restored to normal.