q A Guide to Treating a Corneal Disease - Harcourt Health

A Guide to Treating a Corneal Disease

  1. What is the cornea and corneal disease?

The cornea is the eye’s clear, dome-shaped, and outermost layer that is essential to one’s vision.  Corneal disease is a serious condition that can cause distort that vision via clouding, scarring, and eventually blindness.  The disease can cause eye pain, sensitivity to light, blurry vision, eye redness or inflammation, headache, nausea, and/or fatigue to the suffering patient.  The three main types of corneal disease are keratoconus, Fuchs’ endothelial dystrophy, and bullous keratopathy.

2. What are the common causes of corneal disease and its usual treatments?

Common causes of corneal disease can be eye infection or inflammation that can lead to corneal scarring.  An eye infection might develop from a severely weakened immune system, contact lenses that aren’t properly sanitized, and eye rubbing with hands that aren’t regularly cleansed.  Corneal ulcers can be caused by infection, vision problems by keratoconus or other conditions that cause corneal thinning, vision loss due to corneal cloudiness from Fuchs’ dystrophy, etc.  The changed shape of the cornea and the unfocused light can lead to blurry vision which can make normal activities difficult, like reading, driving, and texting.

Cornea transplant surgery is the usual treatment to severe vision problems from corneal disease.  The surgery restores vision to a person with a damaged cornea by replacing the corneal damage with healthy donor tissue.  According to the National Eye Institute (NEI), corneas are the most commonly transplanted tissue worldwide with more than 47,000 corneal transplants in the United States alone in 2014.  Other treatments for advanced corneal disease include laser surgery, anterior lamellar keratoplasty, endothelial lamellar keratoplasty, and an artificial cornea.

3. How to choose an eye doctor?

What are the kinds of eye doctors?

An optometrist is an eye doctor (OD) who is licensed to prescribe medications, eyeglasses, and contact lenses, but are not trained or licensed to perform eye surgery.  An ophthalmologist is a medical doctor who is trained in osteopathic medicine and how to perform eye exams, diagnose and treat disease, prescribe medications and corrective eyeglasses, and perform eye surgery.  There is a third called an optician.

Do they operate with the highest professionalism?

You deserve a team of ophthalmologists, optometrists, nurses, and coordinators that will serve you professionally.  They can knowledgeably and promptly answer questions, squash common fears about surgery, and are generally good-hearted communicators.

Do they seem trustworthy?

Choosing the right eye doctor is an important decision as you will be trusting them to protect your precious sense of sight and help you maintain a lifetime of good vision.

Do they come well-recommended by family and friends?

Word-of-mouth always works.  Friends and family can help find a competent and caring eye doctor, in order to avoid unpleasant surprises at your first eye exam.

4. NW Cornea Institute

Located within the Devers Eye Institute at Portland Oregon’s Legacy Good Samaritan, NW Cornea Institute is the premiere private practice that has been providing care for thousands of patients with a wide range of different cornea diseases and injuries for almost three decades.  

They feature a world-class team of expert cornea specialists providing cornea transplants, LASIK, PRK, corneal intacs, and more services.  Their constant, intensive research and development focus makes sure that they are always bringing their patients the highest level of thought leadership in their field.  Their medical group is familiar with a patient’s experience and concerns and is equipped with the most up-to-date technology and strategies.

Looking for the best eye experts from Oregon, the Pacific Northwest, and anywhere else in the world?  NW Cornea Institute is invested your care!