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What is a corneal scar?

The cornea is the clear dome-shaped window of the eye that protects the eye from foreign substances. A healthy cornea allows light to pass through, bend onto the lens and focus on the retina (the nerve layer back of the eye).

The cornea can become damaged or injured. If scar tissue forms, you can develop vision problems such as blurry or hazy vision or even blindness. This is because the corneal scar may distort, scatter or block light from refracting onto the lens and retina properly.

What causes a corneal scar?

The main causes are trauma, infection and disease.

  • Abrasions

Improper contact lens use, or traumatic abrasions, or injury to the superficial epithelium, usually heal without a scar. Abrasions, or injuries that damage subsequent layers (Bowman’s and the stromal layers), can result in the formation of corneal scars.

  • Corneal Ulcers

If a corneal ulcer penetrates the Bowman’s and the stromal layer, scars can form.

  • Infections

Eye infections can be bacterial, fungal, viral, or parasitic. If an infection penetrates the Bowman’s and the stromal layer, scars can form.

  • Corneal Dystrophy

Epithelial dystrophy is a type of corneal disease that causes corneal erosions, which can result in corneal scarring.

How is a corneal scar treated?

The treatment depends on the layers of the cornea involved in the scar. Hard contact lenses can improve vision.

Other treatment options include:

During Laser Photo-therapeutic keratectomy (laser PTK) an excimer laser is used to treat superficial corneal scars (less than 100 microns). Benefits associated with PTK include a smoother, clearer cornea as well as better vision.

Corneal transplant. This surgery replaces all or part of your diseased cornea with healthy donor cornea tissue.

To remove deep scars Deep Anterior Lamellar Keratoplasty (DALK) Involves the replacement of the epithelium, Bowman’s layer, and the stroma, leaving the patient’s own healthy Descemet’s membrane and inner endothelium intact.  By retaining the inner two layers, the chance for graft rejection is eliminated.

For full thickness scars, a full thickness corneal transplant has to be done where the center of your cornea is replaced with a healthy donor cornea.

Other reasons you may get cataracts:
• Having a family history of cataracts
• Having certain medical problems like diabetes
• Having had an eye injury or eye surgery
• Having spent a lot of time in the sun, especially without sunglasses that protect your eyes from ultraviolet (UV) rays

You may be able to slow down your development of cataracts.

Protecting your eyes from sunlight is the best way to do this. Wear sunglasses that screen out the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) light rays. You may also wear regular eyeglasses that have a clear, anti-UV coating.