The cornea is the clear outer window of the eye that is crucial for focusing light and allowing you to experience clear vision. However, many conditions can damage the cornea, resulting in significant vision problems. 

The doctors at the Eye Center of St. Augustine, specialize in advanced corneal care and surgery to treat these conditions. We aim to restore health to the cornea and renew clarity of vision using advanced and trusted treatment methods.

What is the Cornea?

The cornea is the clear, dome-shaped surface that covers the front of the eye. It is a key part of focusing light and producing clear vision.

This outermost layer of the eye needs to remain transparent for optimal vision and plays several crucial roles in vision:


The cornea’s curved surface bends and focuses incoming light onto the lens and into the eye. Along with the lens, it accounts for approximately a third of the eye’s total focusing power.


As the outermost layer, the cornea helps shield the rest of the eye from dust, germs, and other potential irritants.

Filtering Light

The cornea filters out some ultraviolet wavelengths of light that could damage the inner eye. Its smooth, lubricated surface also blocks most bacteria from entering the eye.

To maintain transparency and refractive powers, the cornea must stay smooth and uniformly curved. Any distortion in its shape or clarity can result in visual disturbance or impairment.

Conditions like keratitis, corneal ulcers, dystrophies, and injuries all damage the cornea’s delicate structure and function. By understanding the cornea’s vital contributions to vision, we can better diagnose and treat the various disorders that affect it.

What Eye Conditions Can Affect the Cornea?

There are several conditions that can damage the cornea and disrupt vision. The Eye Center of St. Augustine provides advanced treatments to restore corneal health and clarity for better vision.


This is inflammation of the cornea, usually caused by infection. Symptoms include eye pain, tearing, light sensitivity, blurred vision, and redness.

If left untreated, the infection can permanently scar the cornea, leading to impaired vision.

Corneal Dystrophies

Corneal dystrophies are mostly always genetic conditions. They can cause deposits to develop in the cornea over time.

This leads to increasing blurriness and impairment of vision. While dystrophies cannot be cured, surgical procedures like DSEK and DMEK can replace the affected corneal tissue and significantly improve vision.

Eye Injuries

The cornea is vulnerable to direct injury from foreign objects, contact lenses, chemicals, radiation, or trauma that impact the eye. Common eye injuries that can damage the cornea include:

Foreign Bodies

Tiny particles like sand, dirt, or metal shards that become embedded in the cornea. This causes pain and abrasion.

Chemical Burns

Splashes of strong acids or alkalis can burn the corneal surface, leading to scarring.

Blunt Trauma

A forceful blow to the eye from a ball, airbag, or other high-speed object. This can tear or rupture the cornea.

Any eye injury that affects the corneal layer can be extremely painful. More severe injuries threaten vision loss by damaging the cornea’s shape, surface, or clarity. 

Fast diagnosis and treatment are important to prevent infection, scarring, and other complications after an eye injury.

Corneal Abrasions

Scratches on the surface of the cornea from foreign objects, contact lenses, infections, or trauma. They cause eye pain and light sensitivity.

Corneal Ulcers

These open sores result from deeper injuries, infections, or poor healing of abrasions. They require prompt treatment to prevent scarring and vision loss.


A pinkish triangular tissue growth that starts on the white of the eye and slowly encroaches onto the cornea. It can disrupt vision and cause chronic irritation.

How Are Corneal Conditions Treated?

Mild conditions may be treated with antibiotics or anti-inflammatory eyedrops. However, many corneal problems require surgery to restore vision and comfort. 

At Eye Center of St. Augustine, we offer a variety of surgical procedures to help treat corneal conditions and improve vision, including:


DSEK stands for Eescemet’s stripping endothelial keratoplasty. During this procedure, the inner rear layer of the cornea is removed and replaced with healthy donor tissue.


DMEK stands for Descemet’s membrane endothelial keratoplasty. Only the affected endothelium and Descemet’s membrane, which are layers of the cornea, are replaced with donor tissue through a tiny incision.


PKP is also called penetrating keratoplasty. During PKP, the entire central cornea is removed and replaced with full-thickness donor corneal tissue.

This full-thickness corneal transplant is done for severe disease or scarring when DSEK or DMEK are not enough to help the condition.

Pterygium Removal

During pterygium removal, the pterygium is surgically removed from the cornea and surrounding tissue. A conjunctival graft is often placed to prevent recurrence.

Our doctors also offer non-surgical treatments for corneal abrasions, ulcers, and early pterygium. At Eye Center of St. Augustine, the goal is to accurately diagnose your corneal condition and provide the most effective treatment.

This will relieve symptoms and restore corneal clarity and vision. Corneal conditions can impair vision and daily life. 

Whether you have an acute infection or chronic corneal disease, we have the latest therapies and technology to help you see your best again.

Are you experiencing changes in your vision? Schedule an appointment at the Eye Center of St. Augustine in St. Augustine, FL, today!

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