Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier
WebMD

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine
WebMD

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion
    WebMD

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community
    WebMD

    Community

    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Eye Health Center

Font Size
A
A
A

Corneal Opacities: Eye Disorders That Can Cause Vision Loss

Corneal opacities are eye problems that can lead to scarring or clouding of the cornea, which decreases vision.

The cornea is the clear, dome-shaped area that covers the front of the eye. Light passes through the cornea before reaching the retina in the back of the eye, and so it must remain clear so light can pass through. Corneal opacities can cause anything from minor irritation to vision problems and even blindness. In fact, corneal problems are the fourth leading cause of blindness (after glaucoma, cataracts, and age-related macular degeneration).

Recommended Related to Eye Health

Noninfectious Uveitis

Uveitis means you have inflammation -- heat, redness, pain, and swelling -- in one or both of your eyes. It can cause vision loss, but there are many ways to treat it.The key is to see a doctor as soon as you start to notice a problem. If you get treatment early, you can ease your symptoms and protect your vision. Uveitis gets its name from the uvea, the middle layer of the eye, which includes the iris (the colored part). Sometimes it’s also called iritis. The inflammation can also happen in other...

Read the Noninfectious Uveitis article > >

Injury, infection, and certain eye diseases can cause corneal opacities. Here is an overview of the symptoms, causes, and treatment of conditions that affect the cornea.

Corneal Opacity Symptoms

The cornea is formed by strong, tough tissue composed of five different layers, each with a specific function. The cornea protects the eye from dust, germs, UV rays, and other foreign substances. Along with the lens, it bends light rays onto the retina so that images appear in focus. If the corneal shape is excessively steep, flat, or not completely round, it can cause nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism. These are called refractive errors. Certain types of corneal diseases can change the shape of the cornea.

Depending on the cause, symptoms of corneal damage may include:

  • Redness and swelling of the eye tissues and eyelid
  • Tearing
  • Blurred vision
  • Irritation
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Sensation of something in the eye
  • Eye discharge
  • Milky or cloudy area on the cornea
  • Vision loss

Corneal Injuries

Corneal injuries can occur when a foreign object gets in the eye or from something striking the eye. This can cause cuts or scratches to the cornea. Common causes of cornea injury include:

  • Chemical irritation
  • An object in the eye, such as sand or dust
  • Something striking the eye, such as a tree branch
  • Radiation injury from the sun, sun lamps, welding, or sun reflected on snow (snow blindness)
  • Complications of contact lens wear

Minor corneal abrasions heal quickly, usually within two days. More serious wounds take longer to heal and can cause irritation, pain, tearing, and redness. If the cornea becomes deeply scarred it can cause vision problems. Treatment may include patching the eye, using a temporary contact lens, and prescription eye drops or ointments. If vision problems remain or the cornea becomes permanently damaged, you may need a cornea transplant. This surgery removes the damaged cornea and replaces it with a healthy donor cornea.

1 | 2 | 3 | 4

Today on WebMD

Woman holding tissue to reddened eye
Learn about causes, symptoms, and treatments.
eye
Simple annoyance or the sign of a problem?
 
red eyes
Symptoms, triggers, and treatments.
blue eye with contact lens
Tips for wearing and caring.
 
Understanding Stye
Article
human eye
Article
 
eye
Video
eye exam timing
Video
 
vision test
Tool
is vision correction surgery for you
Article
 
high tech contacts
Article
eye drop
Article