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Cloudy cornea

Corneal opacification; Corneal edema

 

A cloudy cornea is a loss of transparency of the cornea.

Causes

 

The cornea makes up the front wall of the eye. It is normally clear. It helps focus the light entering the eye.

Causes of cloudy cornea include:

  • Inflammation
  • Sensitivity to non-infectious bacteria
  • Ulcers on the eye
  • Infection
  • Keratitis
  • Trachoma
  • River blindness
  • Swelling due to glaucoma, birth injury, or Fuchs dystrophy
  • Dryness of the eye due to Sjogren syndrome, vitamin A deficiency, and sometimes after LASIK eye surgery
  • Dystrophy (inherited metabolic disease)
  • Keratoconus
  • Injury to the eye, including chemical burns and welding injury
  • Scarring
Clouding may affect all or part of the cornea. It leads to different amounts of vision loss. You may not have any symptoms in the early stages. 

 

Home Care

 

Consult your health care provider. There is no appropriate home care.

 

When to Contact a Medical Professional

 

Contact your provider if:

  • The outer surface of the eye appears cloudy.
  • You have trouble with your vision.

Note: You will need to see an ophthalmologist for vision or eye problems. However, your primary provider may also be involved if the problem could be due to a whole-body (systemic) disease.

 

What to Expect at Your Office Visit

 

The provider will examine your eyes and ask about your medical history. The two main questions will be if your vision is affected and if you have seen a spot on the front of your eye.

Other questions may include:

  • When did you first notice this?
  • Does it affect both eyes?
  • Do you have trouble with your vision?
  • Is it constant or intermittent?
  • Do you wear contact lenses?
  • Is there any history of injury to the eye?
  • Has there been any discomfort? If so, is there anything that helps?

Tests may include:

  • Biopsy of lid tissue
  • Computer mapping of the cornea (corneal topography)
  • Schirmer's test for eye dryness
  • Special photographs to measure the cells of the cornea
  • Standard eye exam
  • Ultrasound to measure corneal thickness

 

 

References

Abbott RL, Zegabs M, Elander TR. Acanthamoeba keratits. In: Tasman W, Jaeger EA, eds. Duane's Ophthalmology 2013 edition. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2013:vol 4, chap 18A.

Batta P, Wadia HP, Sugar J. Corneal and external eye manifestations of systemic disease. In: Yanoff M, Duker JS, eds. Ophthalmology. 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2014:chap 4.25.

Sharma R, Brunette DD. Ophthalmology. In: Marx JA, Hockberger RS, Walls RM, et al, eds. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2014:chap 71.

Yanoff M, Cameron D. Diseases of the visual system In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 423.

 
  • Eye

    Eye - illustration

    The eye is the organ of sight, a nearly spherical hollow globe filled with fluids (humors). The outer layer or tunic (sclera, or white, and cornea) is fibrous and protective. The middle tunic layer (choroid, ciliary body and the iris) is vascular. The innermost layer (the retina) is nervous or sensory. The fluids in the eye are divided by the lens into the vitreous humor (behind the lens) and the aqueous humor (in front of the lens). The lens itself is flexible and suspended by ligaments which allow it to change shape to focus light on the retina, which is composed of sensory neurons.

    Eye

    illustration

  • Cloudy cornea

    Cloudy cornea - illustration

    The cornea is a transparent structure that covers the iris. Certain metabolic diseases, trauma, infectious diseases, nutritional deficiencies and environmental situations may cause the cornea to be less transparent and cloudy. If the cornea becomes cloudy, it can lead to various degrees of vision loss.

    Cloudy cornea

    illustration

    • Eye

      Eye - illustration

      The eye is the organ of sight, a nearly spherical hollow globe filled with fluids (humors). The outer layer or tunic (sclera, or white, and cornea) is fibrous and protective. The middle tunic layer (choroid, ciliary body and the iris) is vascular. The innermost layer (the retina) is nervous or sensory. The fluids in the eye are divided by the lens into the vitreous humor (behind the lens) and the aqueous humor (in front of the lens). The lens itself is flexible and suspended by ligaments which allow it to change shape to focus light on the retina, which is composed of sensory neurons.

      Eye

      illustration

    • Cloudy cornea

      Cloudy cornea - illustration

      The cornea is a transparent structure that covers the iris. Certain metabolic diseases, trauma, infectious diseases, nutritional deficiencies and environmental situations may cause the cornea to be less transparent and cloudy. If the cornea becomes cloudy, it can lead to various degrees of vision loss.

      Cloudy cornea

      illustration

    A Closer Look

     

      Talking to your MD

       

        Self Care

         

          Tests for Cloudy cornea

           

             

            Review Date: 8/20/2016

            Reviewed By: Franklin W. Lusby, MD, ophthalmologist, Lusby Vision Institute, La Jolla, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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