According to a story from The Health Site, National Eye Donation Fortnight began in India on August 25th and will continue until September 8th. There are over a million people in the country who have corneal blindness, which can be caused by a variety of different eye conditions, some of which are considered rare. The vast majority of corneal blindness cases are considered preventable, and can be cured with a corneal transplant. Here are four eye conditions which can cause a corneal transplant to be required.
Bullous keratopathy is a condition that is not generally considered rare and can often occur in older people. In this condition, small swellings or vesicles appear on the cornea because of a dysfunction of the endothelial cells. These vesicles can swell rapidly and, if not treated promptly, they can burst. This can cause the patient severe pain and impair vision.
Fuchs’ dystrophy is a slow, progressive condition that affects the cornea. The first signs of the disease may appear in a patient’s 30s and 40s, but typically the disease does not begin to cause impairment until decades later. The exact mechanism of this condition is not well understood, but the disease is considered heritable, meaning that genetics play a major role. Symptoms include vision that improves throughout the day, pain from blisters on the cornea, blurred vision, and pronounced glare. As the disease progresses, impairment becomes steadily worse. While the disease can be treated with nonsurgical means early in its development, a corneal transplant is the best cure.
Keratoconus is a disorder of the eye which causes the cornea to thin and change shape. The cause of the condition is not well understood, but could involve a mix of genetic and environmental factors. Several genetic variants have been identified that are connected to keratoconus. Symptoms include nearsightedness, blurred vision, astigmatism, double vision, and increased light sensitivity. In a small percentage of cases, the cornea becomes scarred and a transplant is required.
Infection with the herpes simplex virus causes more cases of corneal blindness than any other disease in the US. About 46,000 new cases appear every year. Generally a transplant is only required in severe cases, where, as in keratoconus, the cornea becomes scarred.