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Cloudy cornea

Definition

A cloudy cornea is a loss of transparency of the cornea.

Alternative Names

Corneal opacification; Corneal edema

Causes

The cornea is normally a nearly invisible, clear structure covering the iris of the eye. Its two purposes are to transmit and focus the light entering the eye.

Causes of cloudy cornea include:

Clouding leads to varying degrees of vision loss.

Home Care

Consult your health care provider. There is no appropriate home care.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Contact your health care provider if:

  • The outer surface of the eye appears cloudy
  • You have trouble with your vision

Note: It is appropriate to see an ophthalmologist for vision or eye problems. However, your primary health care provider may also be involved if a whole-body (systemic) disease is suspected.

What to Expect at Your Office Visit

The doctor will take a medical history and examine your eyes.

Medical history questions may include:

  • Did the cornea become cloudy quickly, or did it develop slowly?
  • When did you first notice this?
  • Does it affect both eyes?
  • Is there any history of injury to the eye?
  • What other symptoms do you have?
  • Do you have any trouble with your vision?
  • If so, what type (blurring, reduced vision, or other) and how much?

Physical examination will include a thorough check of your eyes and vision.

Diagnostic tests may include:

After seeing your health care provider:

You may want to add a diagnosis related to cloudy cornea to your personal medical record.

References

Crouch ER Jr, Crouch ER, Grant T. Ophthalmology. In: Rakel RE. Textbook of Family Medicine. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 53.

Brunette DD. Ophthalmology. In: Marx JA. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 6th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby; 2006:chap 70.

Newlin AC, Sugar J. Corneal and external eye manifestations of systemic disease. In: Yanoff M, Duker JS, Augsburger JJ, Azar DT. Opthalmology. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby; 2004:chap 66.


Review Date: 7/15/2008
Reviewed By: Linda Vorvick, MD, Seattle Site Coordinator, Lecturer, Pathophysiology, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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