About The Cornea
The cornea is the protective outer layer of the front of the eye. Clear and dome-shaped, it not only helps to keep germs and dirt out of the eye but is also integral to clear, sharp vision. A healthy, properly shaped cornea works together with the eye's lens to focus light on the retina. Vision can become impaired if the shape of the cornea is too round or too oblong or if the cornea becomes clouded. There are many common conditions and issues that can affect the shape and clarity of the cornea, leading to vision impairment and eye health concerns.
At Koch Eye Associates, we have an experienced team of ophthalmologists who are highly trained in diagnosing and treating corneal diseases and disorders. If you suspect you have a corneal issue or have been diagnosed with one, contact one of our offices in Johnston, North Kingstown, Providence, Wakefield, Warwick, or Woonsocket, RI. We will perform a comprehensive exam and talk to you about how your vision can be maintained or improved.
Diseases and Disorders
At Koch Eye Associates, our skilled ophthalmologists are able to treat the full gamut of corneal conditions. However, some conditions are more common than others. We regularly see patients for:
Corneal Abrasion – An injury to the superficial layer of the cornea, such as a scratch from dirt, sand, dust, or wood shavings entering the eye
Corneal Ulcer – An open sore on the cornea often caused by infection, injury, overuse of contact lenses, or dehydration
Keratitis – An infectious or noninfectious inflammation within the cornea caused by injury, bacteria, a virus, or a fungus
Keratoconus – A condition that causes the cornea to progressively thin and bulge, changing from its healthy round shape to a cone-like shape, which distorts vision
Corneal Dystrophy – Any one of the more than 20 genetic eye disorders that cause a progressive, abnormal buildup of cloudy material in part of the cornea
Pterygium – A benign, fatty growth on the eye, sometimes containing visible blood vessels, that usually begins on the sclera and can cover the cornea if it becomes large enough
"I first went to Koch Eye many years ago after being referred there for a follow up appointment after being treated at the emergency room for an eye injury, That was the only time I actually saw Dr. Koch himself (who was very nice by the way) It is only in the last few years (since my old lady eyes have begun to need reading glasses) that I have come in regularly for my eye exam and glasses prescription. I never have any problem with wait time because there are several optometrists. Really the only thing I am not crazy about is their hours. I wish it was possible to get an evening appointment or that there was an occasional Saturday. The office staff is pleasant and courteous"- I.C. / Yelp / May 09, 2019
"Such an amazing experience! The staff and Dr. Gerber are AMAZING and were so helpful throughout the whole process from beginning to end within my Lasik journey. I can finally see!! I highly recommend Koch Eye associates in Cranston with Dr. Alex Gerber"- M.P. / Yelp / Dec 28, 2019
"Such an amazing experience! From the second I came in for my first consult for LASIK, to when the procedure was finished, the staff was so caring and helpful! They really know what they are doing and make you feel so comfortable throughout the whole process! Soooo happy with my results! 10/10 recommend."- R.P. / Google / Dec 28, 2019
"I wanted to wait a few months before I wrote my review. It turns out to be the best decision I ever made. I had trouble at first doing the pre test because it's hard for me to keep my eyes open so they had me come back. They were very patient with me. The place is very clean and all the doctors are nice. They are also very good with appointments for post op, you don't have to wait long like most doctors. I would highly recommend this place if you chose to have Laser Eye surgery done."- R.M. / Google / Dec 08, 2019
"Kathy and Zach at Koch Vision Store are just terrific; very knowledgeable about selections and have great recommendations when one is considering lenses/frames."- J.M. / Google / Nov 22, 2019
Corneal diseases and disorders do not always produce noticeable symptoms. However, some can cause significant vision impairment, pain, or both. Some of the symptoms of the more common corneal conditions include:
- Blurred or distorted vision
- Inflamed, red, or swollen eyes
- Eye pain
- Sensitivity to light
Corneal conditions can cause a combination of these symptoms or may not cause any at all. If you have one or more of these symptoms, it is very important that you schedule a comprehensive eye exam with Koch Eye Associates at your earliest convenience.
The majority of corneal disorders and diseases are hereditary, meaning they are genetic and “run in the family.” If you are someone with a family history of corneal disease, it is very important to attend regularly scheduled eye exams. Early detection and treatment can be key to maintaining your vision. Corneal problems can also be the result of external factors, such as bacteria, viruses, trauma, or incorrect use of contact lenses.
Some corneal conditions are not serious and will clear up on their own or with prescription eye drops. However, some are more serious and require more aggressive treatment. Some of these treatments include:
This procedure is done to help the collagen fibers within the cornea bond together more securely, which can slow or stop the cornea from thinning or weakening. This is especially helpful with conditions, such as keratoconus. Corneal cross-linking is the process of creating new cross-links between collagen fibers with riboflavin and ultraviolet light. It is a minimally invasive procedure that does not require any incisions.
Corneal Transplant (DSEK and DSAEK)
DSEK and DSAEK procedures are both partial corneal transplants for patients who have unhealthy endothelial layers. Descemet’s Stripping Endothelial Keratoplasty (DSEK) and Descemet’s Stripping Automated Endothelial Keratoplasty (DSAEK) are essentially the same procedure, but DSAEK involves the automated preparation of the donor corneal tissue. Partial transplants for patients who do not need a full new cornea have the advantages of fewer complications and quicker healing time.
A phototherapeutic keratectomy (PTK) is considered a minor surgery and is used to treat many types of superficial corneal problems, such as injuries, scars, and corneal dystrophies. It can also be performed to correct or improve surface irregularities or surface opacity. PTK involves the use of an excimer laser to remove some or all of the thin, outermost layer of the cornea.
The Koch Eye Associates team of eye health professionals is dedicated to providing compassionate, comprehensive care for our patients. When you visit one of our Rhode Island offices, we will always start with a thorough examination and use our state-of-the-art diagnostic technology. This ensures that we know exactly what treatment is best for each individual case. Whether you suspect you have a corneal issue or you have already been diagnosed, schedule an appointment at one of our Rhode Island facilities today. We will create a customized treatment plan to protect your vision.