The cornea is an important part of the eye that serves many essential functions. As the outermost layer that covers the front of the eye, the cornea plays several essential roles in maintaining vision and keeping the inside of the eye safe.
Understanding what the cornea does can help each person appreciate this vital tissue and learn how to keep it healthy. Keep reading to learn what the cornea does!
What is the Cornea?
The cornea is the clear, dome-shaped surface that covers the front of the eye. It is located in front of the iris and pupil and helps protect these inner structures.
Unlike the rest of the outside layer of the eye, the cornea does not have any blood vessels running through it. This lack of vessels allows light to pass through the cornea without being blocked or scattered.
There are many different conditions that can develop in the cornea, leading to many symptoms. In some cases, corneal conditions can cause permanent vision loss and even eye pain.
Although some corneal conditions cannot be prevented, ensuring that you care for your eyes and corneas can help prevent other types of corneal conditions from developing.
What Does the Cornea Do For The Eye?
The cornea serves many essential functions, including helping you be able to see.
Helps Focus Vision
The cornea works together with the lens inside the eye to refract, or bend, light rays so they can be brought into sharp focus onto the retina in the back of the eye. The cornea provides about two-thirds of the eye’s focusing power, making it crucial for clear vision.
Helps Protect The Eye
As the outer covering of the eye, the cornea helps block foreign objects like dust and debris from entering and damaging delicate structures inside, such as the iris and lens. Its transparent surface also helps shield interior parts from excessive light exposure.
Helps Transmit Light
The cornea’s unique transparent quality and lack of blood vessels allow light rays to pass through it before reaching the lens and getting focused precisely onto light-sensing cells in the retina. Without the cornea’s light-transmitting clear structure, images would appear scattered and unfocused.
Filters UV Radiation From Sunlight
The cornea absorbs some of the potentially damaging UV rays from sunlight before they reach vulnerable inner areas of the eye, such as the lens and retina. Overexposure to UV light can raise the risks of conditions like cataracts or macular degeneration later in life.
How Can I Keep My Cornea Healthy?
While many common cornea problems can be prevented with healthy habits, some corneal issues can develop despite your best efforts. Conditions like keratoconus, which causes the cornea to thin and bulge into a cone shape, often occur on their own without any way for patients to prevent them.
Likewise, traumatic injuries that scar the cornea cannot always be avoided. However, there are some simple habits that can help you maintain a healthy cornea, like:
- Wearing proper eye protection when participating in sports or activities with flying debris
- Avoiding eye irritants like chlorine when swimming with contact lenses
- Protecting eyes from excessive UV sunlight exposure
Catching infections early and treating conditions like dry eye disease, which can damage the cornea, are also important in keeping it functioning properly for clear vision.
Do you want to learn more about the cornea or have your eyes checked to make sure your cornea is healthy? Schedule an appointment at Metro Eye Care in Paramus, NJ, today!