The cornea is the clear, dome-shaped layer that forms the front of your eye. Its function is to focus light into your eye. Diseases of the cornea can decrease vision and cause eye pain. The corneal specialists at the Virginia Eye Institute
, Dr. Donna Brown
and Dr. Christopher Estopinal
, evaluate and treat diseases of the cornea, including dystrophies, infections, corneal swelling, keratoconus, trauma, and dry eyes.
Both Dr. Brown and Dr. Estopinal are experts in corneal transplantation, including penetrating keratoplasty and endothelial (partial thickness) keratoplasty. Most often used to restore vision in patients with a damaged cornea, cornea transplants are performed more than any other transplant operation in the nation. As experts in advanced surgical methods, the microsurgeons at Virginia Eye Institute perform this outpatient operation with tremendous precision and success.
Penetrating keratoplasty, or full-thickness corneal transplantation, replaces all layers of the cornea, and thus is able to correct vision from a variety of corneal diseases. Endothelial keratoplasty, such as DSAEK (Descement’s stripping automated endothelial keratoplasty) and DMEK (Descemet’s membrane endothelial keratoplasty) are able to selectively replace specific diseased layers of the cornea, allowing for faster recovery, clearer vision, and fewer postoperative issues.
Keratoconus occurs when the cornea thins and bulges outward, like a cone. The change of shape in the cornea brings light rays out of focus. As a result, your vision becomes blurry. The corneal specialists at the Virginia Eye Institute are able to treat keratoconus in a number of different ways, including:
- Custom fit contact lens: Several types of contact lenses can correct vision problems caused by keratoconus, including soft lenses, rigid gas permeable lenses, and scleral lenses.
- Collagen cross-linking: Your ophthalmologist uses a special ultraviolet light and eye drops to strengthen the cornea. Doing this helps to flatten or stiffen your cornea, keeping it from becoming more misshapen.
- Corneal transplant: When symptoms are severe, your ophthalmologist may suggest a corneal transplant. Your ophthalmologist replaces all or part of your diseased cornea with healthy donor cornea tissue.