The cornea is the clear front window of the eye. It transmits light to the interior of the eye allowing us to see clearly. Corneal diseases can cause clouding and distortion of vision, and eventually blindness. There are many types of corneal disease. Infections related to contact lenses, abrasions from trauma, and inflammation are common. Other conditions includekeratoconus, Fuchs’ endothelial dystrophy, and pterygia among many others.
Infections or inflammation along with corneal abrasions will often cause a feeling that something is in the eye, with sensitivity to light and a foreign body sensation. Corneal ulcers and infiltrates can be caused by bacteria in and around the eye, or by the herpes virus that lives in most of us and can travel to the nerve endings of the eye and become an active infection of the cornea.
Contact lenses, even when fit properly, can cause a shortage of oxygen to the cornea, essential for proper functioning and clarity of this delicate structure. If your contact lens hygiene is less than optimal, or you don’t replace lenses as frequently as necessary, the cornea will eventually “protest” and cause symptoms such as redness, irritation, and blurring of vision.