Ophthalmology Procedures

Corneal (External) Eye Disease Treatment in Chicago, IL

Disease of the cornea can be an alarming diagnosis. The dedicated doctors and staff at the Kraff Eye Institute can guide you from diagnosis to treatment.

What Is the Cornea?

Structure of Cornea

The cornea is the transparent, dome shaped, part of the eye that covers the iris and pupil at the front of the eye. The cornea contains no blood vessels, instead the cornea receives its nourishment from the tears and aqueous humor fluid that fills the anterior chamber located behind the cornea. The cornea serves two functions. First, it shields the eye from dust, germs, bacteria and an array of harmful matter.  Second, as the eyes outermost lens, it is the entry point for light into the eye. As light enters the eye through the cornea, it bends the light onto the lens inside the eye. The lens then refocuses the light onto the retina.

Main Types Of Corneal & External Diseases

Diseases of the cornea refer to eye conditions that affect the ocular surface, and there are several common corneal diseases. 


Eye allergies are fairly common. General symptoms include redness, burning, tearing, and itchy eyes. Eye drops are typically prescribed as treatment.


The eye can sustain small abrasions or scratches that usually heal on their own. However, deeper scratches or injuries require immediate medical intervention to avoid scarring and vision problems.

Dry Eye

Inadequate or poor quality tears, can cause irritation and blurry vision. Dry eye is typically treated by using artificial tears, and in some cases, prescription eye drops.

Corneal Dystrophy

Corneal dystrophies cause cloudy vision when abnormal deposits build up on the cornea. This type of corneal disease typically runs in families.


Blepharitis is a chronic condition that causes inflammation of the eyelids. Symptoms include, redness, itching, burning, and blurred vision. This disorder of the cornea is treated with eye drops or ointments.

Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye)

Often called “pink eye”, conjunctivitis is inflammation of the covering on the white part of the eye. It can result from allergies, irritation, viral or bacterial infection.

Corneal Infections

Corneal infections can be caused by bacteria or fungi from a contaminated contact lens, or trauma to the cornea. These types of infection can cause pain, discharge and reduced vision.


Keratoconus is a weakening of the cornea that leads to the cornea becoming cone shaped, resulting in blurry, and out of focus vision.


Photokeratitis is an inflammation of the cornea caused by exposure to light from welding, too much sun, or overexposure to UV light. It generally will heal completely.


This disorder of the cornea affects people as they age. Presbyopia occurs when the lens inside the eye becomes stiff and can't change shape as easily.

Herpes Keratitis

Herpes Keratitis is caused by the herpes simplex or zoster virus. Both can cause scarring of the cornea and inflammation of the eye. Patients should see a doctor and begin treatment immediately.

Fuch's Dystrophy

This type of corneal disease affects the innermost layer of the cornea, causing it to lose the ability to keep fluid from soaking into the cornea.


A pterygium is a growth that starts on the clear tissue of the eye that spreads to the cornea. This is common in people who spend a lot of time in the sun.

Corneal Ectasia

Ectasia is a complication of refractive surgery that causes progressive thinning and bulging of the cornea, resulting in worsening vision.

What Are The Corneal Eye Diseases Symptoms?

The cornea has the ability to repair itself quickly, and many injuries and corneal diseases will heal on their own. However, when there is a deep injury to the cornea, the healing may take longer, resulting in a variety of cornea disease symptoms. These symptoms can include:

  • Eye Pain
  • Blurry, and distorted vision
  • Excessive tearing
  • Redness, itching, burning, and stinging
  • Discharge from the eye
  • Headaches, nausea, fatigue
  • Foreign body sensation
  • Poor night vision
  • Cloudy cornea

Types of Treatment For Corneal Eye Diseases

Cornea disease treatment includes a multitude of options. These may include glasses, contact lenses, over the counter eye drops, medications, laser surgery and corneal transplant.

Corneal Cross Linking

Corneal cross linking is an in-office procedure for keratoconus. Using vitamin B2 and ultraviolet light, the corneal is strengthened to stop the disease from progressing.

Corneal Transplant Surgery

If the corneal disease cant be repaired, you may need a corneal transplant. During the DSEK procedure, healthy endothelial cells are transplanted to restore corneal clarity. The DALK procedure is recommended for the treatment of corneal disease involving a normally functioning endothelium.

Artificial Cornea

An alternative to corneal transplant is an artificial cornea. The doctor will replace the damaged cornea with an artificial cornea.

Medical Management

Your corneal ophthalmologist may prescribe antibiotics, antivirals, or antifungal medications if you are diagnosed with an infection.

Corrective Eye Lenses

If your cornea condition is from keratoconus, or you have irregularly shaped corneas, you can be fit for custom hard contact lenses.

Phototherapeutic Keratectomy

Phototherapeutic Keratectomy or PTK, involves using a laser beam to remove corneal irregularities, scars, and diseased tissue for the surface of the cornea. PTK can often improve vision as well.

Schedule Your Chicago Corneal Disease Treatment Appointment

Schedule an appointment at The Kraff Eye Institute, to arrange your corneal disease treatment appointment today.

312-757-7335Schedule Consultation
Schedule Consultation

Common Causes Of Corneal Eye Diseases

Corneal Eye Diseases

Doctors and medical experts don't completely understand what causes diseases of the cornea, and the external eye structures. Some causes can include:

  • Injury or trauma to the eye
  • Infection caused by a virus, bacteria, fungus or parasites
  • Hereditary conditions
  • Allergic reactions
  • Aging
  • Certain eye diseases, such as retinitis.
  • Systemic diseases such as Down Syndrome or Ehlers-Danlos syndrome 

How Are Corneal Eye Diseases Diagnosed?

Your cornea and external disease specialist will conduct a thorough examination of your eyes and its structures. Your doctor will perform:

  • Slit Lamp Exam: this test will give your doctor a magnified, 3D view of the structures at the front of the eye. 
  • Corneal Topography and Tomography: A computer-guided device will create an image map of the cornea to measure the corneal power, curvature and the thickness.
  • Corneal Pachymetry: Using ultrasound waves, the thickness of the cornea is measured. 
  • Keratometry: The measures the curvature of your corneas front surface.

Reviews For Refractive Lens Exchange Services At Kraff Eye, Chicago


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LASIK Cost in Chicago

How Much Does Corneal Eye Condition Treatment Cost In Chicago?

The cost of corneal eye condition treatment will depend on the type of condition you are diagnosed with, and the type of treatment your corneal specialist recommends.

External Eye Diseases Treatment Financial Options

The Kraff Eye Institute is a proud partner of CareCredit, America's top patient payment program. CareCredit allows you to start your vision care treatment at once, then pay for it at a later date.

About Our Corneal Diseases Ophthalmopathy Doctors

With over 30 years of experience, Dr.Kraff is a specialist in the field of cornea disease diagnosis and treatment. Dr. Kraffs commitment to advanced technology has given his patients an exceptional level of successful treatment.

Schedule Your Illinois Corneal Eye Disease Treatment Consultation Today!

Schedule your corneal eye disease treatment with The Kraff Eye Institute today.

312-757-7335Schedule Consultation
Schedule Consultation

External \ Corneal Eye Conditions FAQ

How can the cornea get damaged?

Expand F.A.Q.

The cornea can become damaged by several things, including:

  • Chemical and thermal injuries
  • Pathological diseases
  • Infections or inflammation
  • New tissue growth, such as a pterygium
  • Hereditary conditions

All of these conditions can result in damage on the corneas surface, leading to blood vessel growth and scarring, which both can cause loss of vision.

Can corneal eye diseases be prevented?

Expand F.A.Q.

The risk of developing corneal eye disease can be reduced by protecting the eyes from injury and limiting physical contact with people who have contagious eye infections. Using protective eye wear while using chemicals, or during contact sports will reduce your risk of injury. Avoid sharing makeup, contact lens solution, and washing your hands regularly can prevent infections.