Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey
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Corneal opacity is a disorder of the cornea. The cornea is the transparent structure on the front of the eyeball. Corneal opacity is when the cornea becomes scarred. This reduces the light passing through the cornea to the retina and may cause the cornea to appear white or clouded over.
Infection, injury, or swelling of the eye are the most common causes of corneal opacity.
Factors that may increase your chance of corneal opacity:
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Corneal opacity may cause:
You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.
To prepare for a complete eye exam, your doctor may put drops in your eyes to numb them and to dilate your pupils. A specialized microscope will be used to focus a high-powered beam of light into your eye to examine the cornea and other structures in your eye.
Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Treatments vary depending on the most likely cause of the scarring and how severe the scarring is. Treatments may include:
In some cases, scar tissue may be removed surgically. The surgery may be performed using a laser, called phototherapeutic keratectomy (PTK), if the scarring is close to the corneal surface. In more severe cases, a cornea transplant (keratoplasty) may be necessary.
To help reduce your chance of corneal opacity:
American Optometric Association
Eye Health—American Academy of Ophthalmology
Canadian Ophthalmological Society
Congenital Corneal Opacities. American Academy of Ophthalmology. Available at: https://www.aao.org/topic-detail/congenital-corneal-opacities-europe. Updated November 2015. Accessed December 14, 2017.
Facts about the cornea and corneal disease. National Eye Institute website. Available at: https://nei.nih.gov/health/cornealdisease. Updated May 2013. Accessed December 14, 2017.
Rangel TR. Sectoral keratitis and uveitis. Ocular Immunology and Uveitis Foundation website. Available at: http://www.uveitis.org/docs/dm/sectoral_keratitis.pdf. Accessed December 14, 2017.
Williams K, Irani Y, Klebe S. Novel therapeutic approaches for corneal disease. Discov Med. 2013 May;15(84):291-9. Available at: http://www.discoverymedicine.com/Keryn-A-Williams/2013/05/24/novel-therapeutic-approaches-for-corneal-disease/.. Accessed January 3, 2018.
Last reviewed November 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Michael Woods, MD, FAAP Last Updated: 12/20/2014