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Poor Vision thanks to Corneal Scars

Corneal scars typically result from trauma or an infection. With infections, pathogens might be eliminated with antiviral, antibiotic or antifungal drugs, but the damage they cause whilst in the cornea will remain as a scar. Depending on their location, the scar can severely impair a person’s visual acuity. Poor eyesight due to scarring in the cornea is one of the major causes of blindness worldwide.

Scars can be opaque – or can “pull on” the cornea

A scar in the cornea can do two things.

  • Scars are opaque – and they can scatter light, making vision behind that scar appear cloudy.
  • The scar tissue can “pucker” and ths pulls on the cornea, which triggers an irregular astigmatism, reducing vision.

    Laser treatment of the scar

    We have a number of ways to reduce the effect of the scar. The motto is that it is always best to maintain your own cornea: we view corneal transplantation as the option of last resort. If it is possible to use an excimer laser to improve the cornea to the extent that good vision is possible, then this is always the best choice. Lasering is often carried out in two stages: the first step is called PTK (phototherapeutic keratectomy), which is primarily intended to reduce the turbidity/opacity of the scar. Further, if a part of the scar is removed, the cornea can begin to relax over the next few months. This reduces the irregular astigmatism that often occurs. Four to six months later, a second laser procedure can be performed to correct some or all of the remaining astigmatism.

    Operated by us

    A 19-year-old patient who developed a corneal scar after fungal infection. The scar resulted in a cloudy and very irregular (asymmetrical) cornea. The best corrected visual acuity was 40%. After reconstructive laser surgery, the vision was 80% and the cornea was much more symmetrical.

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