The cornea is the transparent front part of the eye. It covers the iris (the colored part) and pupil (the black center). The cornea allows the image you are looking at to be carried in the form of light waves into the interior of your eye.
The surface of the cornea is where light begins its journey into the eye. The cornea’s mission is to gather and focus visual images. Because it is out front, like the windshield of an automobile, it is subject to considerable abuse from the outside world. Particles of dust and grit inevitably find their way into our eyes, irritating them, and stimulating the production of tears to wash foreign materials away.
Although appearing to be one clear membrane, the human cornea actually has five distinct layers. The cornea is masterfully engineered so that only the most expensive human-made lenses can match its precision. The smoothness and shape of the cornea is as vitally important to its proper functioning as is its transparency. If either the surface smoothness or the clarity of the cornea is disturbed, vision becomes distorted.
Various refractive eye surgery techniques change the shape of the cornea in order to reduce the need for corrective lenses or otherwise improve the refractive state of the eye. To learn about the treatment options for cornea diseases and disorders, click on the menu options to the right.
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