The cornea can be affected by various diseases. It can be attacked by bacteria or by viruses, such as those that cause corneal herpes or shingles (zona). Inflammation of the cornea without infection is called “keratitis”. This is most often the result of a traumatic event (e.g., blow, scratch, chemical or flash burn), though it can also be caused by contact lenses. Corneal ulcers are also possible. These are deeper, more localized injuries that require aggressive therapy with antibiotic drops and frequent follow-ups, especially at the beginning of the treatment, to monitor healing. Moreover, corneal dystrophies are rare hereditary abnormalities that can compromise the integrity of the multiple layers of the cornea. Some dystrophies reduce vision, while others remain asymptomatic. The most common of these include Fuchs dystrophy, keratoconus (or sugar-loaf cornea) and epithelial basement membrane dystrophy (Cogan’s dystrophy).
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