Corneal scarring can develop from a variety of eye diseases. The cornea is the front, clear window of the eye that allow light to enter and focus on the retinal nerve tissue in the back of the eye. Any opacities on the cornea can potentially block or distort light rays from entering or focusing on the retina. Most commonly they are caused by injuries to eye or infections on the cornea. Corneal infections can occur in the form of viruses (most common), bacteria, parasites or fungi. They may also be related to contact lens-wear. After healing from trauma or a corneal infection, scarring may persist. In the event that it leaves a vision deficit, there are several treatment options to consider.
Many patients that get corneal scarring from any cause may be told that there is nothing that can be done to treat it. But newer technology with laser treatments, called “phototherapeutic keratectomy” (PTK), is able to polish off opacities while smoothing out the distorted shape cornea caused by the scarring. This laser is the same type of excimer laser technology used in advanced LASIK procedures. Advanced diagnostic imaging will help design the customized treatment profile for any particular scar based on the location and extent of the damage caused from the scarring. By design, PTK will also decrease your dependence on glasses or contact lenses. This is excellent news for patients that have gotten corneal scarring from trouble with the contacts. The other healthy eye will usually be treated simultaneously with LASIK to eliminate the need for returning contact lenses altogether. Dr. Rush has been a pioneer with researching and developing some of the advanced techniques using PTK for corneal scarring.
Surgery with a corneal transplant can also remove corneal scarring but is an invasive and risky procedure that requires an extended healing period. This treatment option is preferred when the scarring is too extensive to benefit from PTK.
Corneal dystrophies are other genetic medical conditions that can cause opacities on the cornea. They may also be treatable with PTK.
Dr. Rush can evaluate your cornea to determine the most appropriate treatment option for you.