Cornea Services in North & South Carolina
Corneal disease may cause an overall blurring and haziness of vision.
The Cornea and External Diseases Center is dedicated to excellence in the medical and surgical care of the complete spectrum of conditions involving the cornea and other structures at the front of the eye. This includes dystrophies, infections, corneal swelling, dry eyes, and trauma.
A healthy cornea is pictured on the left while a cornea with corneal disease is pictured on the right.
The Cornea Service offers comprehensive care in the diagnosis and treatment of conditions affecting the front of the eye that can cause redness, pain, and decreased vision. Treatment options include medications, lasers, and outpatient surgery. In the field of corneal surgery, the doctors at Carolina Eye Associates are leaders in DSEK (Descemet’s stripping with endothelial keratoplasty) surgery. This new procedure can be used for certain diseases where the innermost layers of the cornea are replaced instead of the whole cornea as in a corneal transplant.
A corneal transplant, also known as a keratoplasty, is a surgical procedure that may restore a person’s vision after injury, genetic diseases, infection, scarring, or age-related changes. Cornea transplants replace part of your cornea with corneal tissue from a donor and can significantly improve vision and appearance. A number of conditions can be treated with a cornea transplant including cornea scarring, swelling of the cornea, corneal ulcers, and keratoconus. At Carolina Eye Associates, we perform partial corneal transplants, DMEK, DSEK, or DALK, as well as full-thickness penetrating keratoplasty.
Corneal Cross-linking is a minimally invasive, in-clinic procedure that may strengthen the cornea using a combination of eye drops and ultraviolet light. This combination causes the corneal collagen fibers to cross-link, which leads to stiffer, stronger corneas. The procedure is often used on patients who suffer from keratoconus, a condition that affects young adults, where the cornea becomes weaker, thinner, and irregularly shaped. Keratoconus patients typically have blurred or distorted vision.
Refractive Lens Exchange
Refractive or Clear Lens Exchange is an alternative for patients who are not candidates for LASIK vision correction and do not have cataracts yet. Refractive Lens Exchange works by replacing the natural lens in your eye with an IOL (Intraocular Lens). This IOL may allow you to see up close, far away, and in-between. At Carolina Eye Associates, we offer a variety of IOL’s to choose from based on your preferred outcome.
A Pterygium is a non-cancerous growth or lesion on the surface of your eye. A Pterygium may not require surgery if you are not experiencing vision problems, eye irritation, or difficulties completing your daily activities. If the Pterygium does require removal, one of our corneal specialists will complete what is called a pterygium removal. This is where the surgeon removes the growth and takes a small piece of skin from beneath the eyelid to fill in the area where the Pterygium was. This surgical procedure helps decrease the chance of reoccurrence of pterygium in patients.
Corneal ulcers are open sores on the cornea of your eye. They can be caused by multiple different infections and injuries such as bacteria, fungi, or viruses. Corneal Ulcers can mostly be treated using antibiotic, antifungal, or antiviral eye drops.
Uveitis is a type of eye inflammation that can affects all layers of your eye. Warning signs for Uveitis often come on suddenly and worsen quickly. Symptoms include eye redness, pain, and blurred vision. Many causes of uveitis are unknown but some can be a sign of other medical issues and uveitis can lead to permanent vision loss. Treatment for Uveitis includes anti-inflammatory eye drops, steroids, or antiviral medications based on cause.
A Salzmann’s Nodule is a creamy white bump on the clear part (cornea) of your eye. For unknown reasons, one or multiple may develop on the cornea and distort your vision. Although symptoms are mild, more severe cases can cause shadow images, decreased, or distorted vision. Treatment for Salzmann’s Nodules includes a superficial keratectomy in the office or operating room. The surgeon removes the top layer of the cornea and the nodules and the cornea re-heals smoothly.
This is a condition that is caused by inflammation, diabetes, infection, or herpetic eye disease. The corneal nerves are damaged that supplies the signal for the surface cells of the cornea to grow and cover the corneal surface. When the corneal nerves are injured then a corneal surface wound develops causing a non-healing corneal epithelial defect. This disease is very hard to treat because there has been significant damage to the natural healing process of the eye. Medications, contact lenses, surgery, and amniotic membranes can be used to help heal the corneal surface.
Intraocular Lens Exchange/Replacements
This is a very specialized surgery that only a few surgeons in the state offer. Patients whose intraocular lens (artificial lens) displaces or is malfunctioning after cataract surgery may need to undergo a lens exchange. In these eyes, the natural attachments for the artificial lens are not strong enough or have become too damaged to keep the artificial lens in the proper position. The new lens may need to be sutured to the iris or secured to the sclera in a special technique depending on the unique anatomy of the eye.