Corneal Scarring And Your Vision: What You Need To Know
Although your eyes are naturally fairly protected, that doesn't mean that they are completely safe from harm. Flying objects, debris, and even physical injuries can cause damage to your eyes. In some cases, the damage to your cornea can be severe enough to cause scarring. When that happens, the scar tissue can actually block light flow into your eye. That light is essential for vision and focus. Since the cornea is such a vital part of your ability to focus and see, this can interfere with your vision. The severity of the interference will vary depending on how severe the scarring is. Here is some information to help you understand corneal scarring and its treatments.
What Can Cause Scar Tissue On Your Cornea?
You won't get scarring on your cornea from just any kind of eye injury. It takes a significant and direct trauma to the eye, an infection, or a virus to cause it.
The two most common causes of trauma-related scarring on the cornea are physical abrasions and burns. Surface abrasions, like those on the skin, will typically heal within a short period of time, taking the visual obstruction problems with it. However, scarring due to burns is more extensive, and can actually result in permanent problems. The severity of the problems will depend on how deeply the cornea is burned.
Scarring caused by infections and viruses, on the other hand, are typically more concerning. Conditions such as herpes and keratitis can cause serious scar tissue development on the surface of the cornea. In severe cases, they can even result in blindness or permanently blurred vision.
Are There Any Obvious Signs Of Corneal Scarring?
While you probably wouldn't be able to see scarring on your cornea in the mirror, there are some physical signs that you can be attentive to. In most cases, scar tissue on your cornea will cause discomfort on your eye, including irritation and pain, especially when blinking.
In addition, that irritation may cause your eyes to water more heavily than they normally would, so you may struggle with watery eyes. Irritation of your cornea will also lead to irritation throughout your eye, making the eye appear red and sometimes puffy.
Smaller corneal scars may cause spots in your vision where the vision is obstructed in the area of the scar. The larger the scar, the larger the obstructed vision will be. If the scar is large enough, it can even lead to complete blindness in the affected eye.
How Is Corneal Scarring Treated?
The best treatment for corneal scarring will widely depend on the cause of the problem. For example, if it is caused by an object in your eye that's caused an abrasion, the first step is to remove the offending object. This is usually done with a saline flush so that no bacteria is introduced into the eye in the process. Then, you may be provided with eye drops medicated with antibiotics. The drops will prevent infection while your eye heals over the course of a week or so. Similarly, if the scarring is caused by a virus or infection, the source must be treated to address the scarring.
If the corneal scarring isn't something that can be treated, your eye doctor will recommend that you have cornea surgery. This surgery is a significant one. It means the replacement of your cornea to eliminate the scar tissue problem. Just make sure you follow all of the aftercare instructions to reduce the risk of rejection. Your eye doctor will give you clear, specific instructions to ensure that your surgery has the best chance of success.