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Corneal conditions and surgery

The cornea is the clear outer layer of the eye. It is smooth, as transparent as glass and very strong. It has two uses. The first is to protect the eye from injury and infection and the second is to control and focus the entry of light into the eye.

We run specialist corneal and external eye outpatient clinics and you may be treated in our eye inpatient and eye surgery department.


This is a condition that most usually occurs where an overgrowth of the conjunctiva (the tissue covering the white part of your eye) encroaches onto the cornea, causing irritation. Sometimes it also leads to reduced vision. It can be removed with a simple operation.


This is where the cornea becomes distorted causing vision to become very blurred. It is not correctable with glasses and the patient relies on special contact lenses to improve the vision. You may be seen by our optometrists.

Corneal graft

This procedure will be considered when corneal dystrophy (where the transparency of the cornea is affected) has damaged or distorted the cornea to such an extent that vision can no longer be sufficiently improved with glasses or contact lenses (see optometry) or if there is a pre-existing condition such as keratoconus which distorts the cornea and affects the way the light enters the eye. The damaged cornea is replaced with a healthy donor cornea usually under general anaesthetic.

Distorted cornea caused by injury or surgery

Our optometrists can often help to improve the sight of patients with these conditions.

For example, contact lenses may still be needed after a corneal graft operation.