The cornea is the clear “window” on the front of your eye. It plays a role in vision. You can keep your corneas and vision in good health by protecting your eye during sports and work and getting regular eye exams. Corneal problems include a scratched cornea, keratoconus and corneal dystrophies, including Fuchs’ dystrophy.
The cornea is the clear window on the front of your eye. It’s made of tough, transparent tissue.
Together with the sclera (white of your eye), the cornea helps protect your eye. It keeps out dirt, germs and other particles. The cornea also filters out some of the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) light.
The cornea plays a key role in vision. Its main job is to help your eyes focus. The cornea has a slight curvature. As light enters your eye, the shape of the cornea refracts (bends) it. The curve helps your eye focus on objects that are close or far away.
The cornea has five layers:
Disease, infection or injury may damage your cornea. If that happens, scars or discoloration can form. This damage can block or distort light as it enters your eye. Your cornea can also become cloudy, and your vision may blur.
Cornea problems include:
Healthcare providers can treat most corneal conditions with prescription eye drops or oral medications (drugs you take by mouth). For keratoconus, specialized contact lenses may help.
If you have advanced corneal disease, you may need:
You can take steps to keep your cornea healthy. Wear goggles or safety glasses when you:
To keep your corneas healthy:
If you feel like something is stuck in your eye:
Go to your eye doctor or the nearest emergency room if you experience:
A note from Cleveland Clinic
The cornea is the clear outer layer of your eye. It helps your eyes focus and keeps germs and particles out of your eye. Wear sunglasses when you’re outside. Protect your corneas by wearing goggles or safety glasses when dust or other particles could fly into your eye. If you wear contact lenses, clean and disinfect them regularly. And make sure to have regular eye exams. An eye professional can check for scratches on your cornea or other problems.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 05/26/2021.
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