Corneal opacity is a disorder of the cornea. The cornea is the transparent structure on the front of the eyeball. Corneal opacity occurs when the cornea becomes scarred. This stops light from passing through the cornea to the retina and may cause the cornea to appear white or clouded over.
Factors that may increase your chance of corneal opacity:
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Corneal opacity may cause:
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.
To prepare for a complete eye exam, your doctor may put drops in your eyes to numb them and to dilate your pupils. Your doctor will use a specialized microscope to focus a high-powered beam of light into your eye to examine the cornea and other structures in your eye.
Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Treatments vary depending on the most likely cause of the scarring and how severe the scarring is. Treatments may include:
In some cases, scar tissue may be removed surgically. The surgery may be performed using a laser, called phototherapeutic keratectomy (PTK), if the scarring is close to the corneal surface. In more severe cases, a cornea transplant may be necessary.
To help reduce your chance of corneal opacity:
American Optometric Association
Eye Health—American Academy of Ophthalmology
Canadian Ophthalmological Society
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Corneal opacity. The Fred Hollows Foundation NZ website. Available at: http://www.hollows.org.nz/content/corneal-opacity. Accessed November 24, 2015.
Facts about the cornea. National Eye Institute (NEI) website. Available at: https://nei.nih.gov/health/cornealdisease. Updated May 2013. Accessed November 24, 2015.
Pelletier AL, Thomas J, et al. Vision loss in older person. Am Fam Physician. 2009;79(11):963-970.
Rangel TR. Sectoral keratitis and uveitis. Ocular Immunology and Uveitis Foundation website. Available at: http://www.uveitis.org/docs/dm/sectoral_keratitis.pdf. Accessed November 24, 2015.
Wong AL, Weissman BA, et al. Bilateral corneal neovascularization and opacification associated with unmonitored contact lens wear. Am J Ophthalmol. 2003;136(5):957-958.
Last reviewed November 2015 by Michael Woods, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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