Cloudy cornea (patient information)

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Cloudy cornea


What are the causes?


When to seek urgent medical care?

Treatment options

Where to find medical care for Cloudy cornea?

What to expect (Outlook/Prognosis)?

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]


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

What causes Cloudy cornea?

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:

  • Chemical burns to the cornea
  • Herpetic keratoconjunctivitis (a form of conjunctivitis caused by herpes simplex)
  • Infectious diseases
  • Poor nutrition
  • River blindness (onchocerciasis -- an infection common in parts of Africa)
  • Several rare inherited diseases involving abnormal metabolism
  • Sjogren syndrome
  • Trachoma
  • Trauma
  • Vitamin A deficiency

Clouding leads to varying degrees of vision loss.

When to seek urgent medical care?

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.

Treatment options

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

Where to find medical care for Cloudy cornea?

Directions to Hospitals Treating Cloudy cornea

What to expect (Outlook/Prognosis)?

The health care provider will examine your eyes and ask questions about your 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?

Tests may include:

  • Biopsy of lid tissue
  • Ophthalmoscopy
  • Special photographs to measure the cells of the cornea
  • Standard eye exam
  • Ultrasound to measure corneal thickness


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