Corneal diseases: Causes and Symptoms

Cornea is the transparent front part of the eye that covers the pupil and the iris (that is, the colored part of the eye). Below you’ll find accurate descriptions about corneal diseases and injuries, artificial cornea, Boston Keratoprosthesis, corneal laser surgery, and also about the latest news on the minimally invasive or artificial corneal transplant. Definitions are given by Dr. Badalà, who works as an ophthalmologist in MIlan, Rome and Catania.

Cornea related injuries and diseases could be: cornea guttata, corneal dystrophy, corneal ulcer, keratoconus, corneal abrasion. All of these can lead to a loss of corneal transparency.

In these cases, the most common treatment consists in a corneal transplant, that makes it possible to see well again. If the disease is catched early, it is even possible to avoid the transplant altogether with a medical therapy.

If transplant fails, you can resort to artificial cornea, via the Boston Keratoprosthesis: the artificial cornea can give a new hope to many patients.

Cornea shields the inside of the eye just like the glass of a watch. It is composed of several layers; from the outside, there are, in order:

  • epithelium,
  • stroma,
  • endothelium.

Some corneal diseases affect the whole cornea, some others only the superficial part or the most inner layer (endothelium).

Some corneal disease have a genetic component and are linked to the patient’s family history; this is why, in case of relatives that have such diseases, it is best to see an ophthalmologist and, if that’s the case, diagnose corneal diseases early on.
This is even most advisable in case of cornea guttata or keratoconus, where genes responsible for the disease have been identified.

Piero Banna, Catania

Votazione: Eccellente
I underwent DMEK (an endothelian cornel transplant) in my right eye over a year ago. The corneal transplant was performed by Dr. Badalà.
My vision was very bad, 20/200 in the affected eye and it was bothering the visio... Keep on reading this reviewn I had with my better eye, making it very difficult to use the two eyes together, specifically when driving.
I trust Dr. Badalà because of US training and said: “I’m at the last shore, even if the surgery doesn’t go well, this eye is only giving me problems”
All eye examination before and after the operation were performed in the excellent Eye center located in Catania.
The corneal transplant with the very new technique DMEK (Descemet Membrane Endothelial Keratoplasty) was carried out in Milan in a private hospital, accredited with the National Healthcare,with state of the art equipment and was totally free of charge for me.
The surgery was under general anesthesia without complications. The only real problem, which was extensively explained by Dr. Badalà, is that I had to stay flat in bed for the first day with my head facing the ceiling. This is because the new endothelial cells transplanted are kept in place by a small air bubble. I was allowed to move every half an hour and from the next day I was allowed to go back to a normal life.
The time in the hospital - one night - was fast and warmed up by a very kind nursing team and frequent encounters with the doctor, who was always answering my questions, showing confidence and humanity.
No patching and fast progressive visual rehabilitation surprised me. Two months post-op. visual acuity was 20/40, similar to my better eye. Six months after visual acuity is 20/25 much better and clear than my “older” good eye.
When I went to buy a new pair of glasses my German optician, well-known in Catania, said: “I can’t believe it, it’s a miracle! Who’s the eye surgeon that made this new eye? Tell him he made a good job!”
I’m convinced that corneal transplant surgery is complex and requires high technology and a lot of experience, when a surgery like this seems simple and routinary, that means that the eye surgeon is really good.
Thank you Doctor Badalà, I’m starting to think seriously about getting a corneal transplant in the other eye.