The cornea is the clear outer layer at the front of your eye. It helps your eye focus light so that you can see clearly. Corneal disease can severely affect your vision if not treated promptly and effectively. Duke corneal specialists throughout the Triangle provide treatment for a variety of corneal diseases. Some of these include corneal dystrophies such as Fuchs’ dystrophy; corneal inflammation, scarring, and ulcers; dry eye; and keratoconus. If your condition has progressed and you need corneal transplant surgery to help restore you vision, we offer the most advanced surgical techniques that replace the affected layer of the cornea -- maximizing your vision and minimizing risks and recovery time.
Duke Health offers locations throughout the Triangle. Find one near you.
Tests for Corneal Disease
Your corneal surgeon will conduct a thorough examination of your eye and its structures.
Slit Lamp Exam
This test gives your doctor a magnified, 3D view of the structures at the front of your eye.
Corneal Topography and Tomography
A computer-guided device creates a 3D image map of your cornea to measure corneal power, curvature, and thickness.
Ultrasound waves measure the thickness of your cornea.
This test measures the curvature of your cornea’s front surface to assess astigmatism.
Tear Film Interferometry/Meibography
This non-invasive imaging technology helps your doctor assess the oil (lipid) layer of your tear film, as well as the anatomy and structure of the oil-producing glands in your eyelids. This can help determine the cause of dry eyes.
Optical Coherence Tomography
OCT is a non-contact imaging test that uses light waves to take high-resolution, cross-sectional pictures of your cornea. These images can be used to examine changes to the normal layered anatomy of the cornea.
In-Vivo Confocal Microscopy
Allows your doctor to examine the cellular structure of your cornea and to see normal and abnormal cells in the various corneal layers as well as infectious cells such as fungi and amoeba.
Where you receive your care matters. Duke University Hospital is proud of our team and the exceptional care they provide. They are why our ophthalmology program is ranked sixth in the nation and is the highest ranked program in North Carolina, according to U.S. News & World Report for 2021–2022.
Why Choose Duke
Advanced Training in Corneal Disease Management
Duke corneal surgeons are board-certified ophthalmologists with advanced training in the medical and surgical management of corneal disease. Our surgical expertise and access to the most technically advanced equipment ensure that you receive an accurate diagnosis and the most effective treatment plan.
Noninvasive Diagnostic Imaging Techniques
You’ll have access to noninvasive diagnostic imaging techniques that allow our doctors to look at your corneas and surrounding structures in high resolution. This helps us identify and assess corneal diseases such as ocular surface tumors, corneal infections, and dry eye.
Access to Advanced Dry Eye Treatments
To diagnose the cause of your dry eyes, we use advanced testing and imaging. You’ll also have access to advanced dry-eye treatments, including anti-inflammatory agents, thermal pulsation therapy, autologous serum tears, and scleral contact lenses.
Collagen Cross-Linking Treatment for Patients with Keratoconus
If you have keratoconus, you may be a candidate for the first FDA-approved collagen cross-linking treatment, which can stop the condition from progressing and prevent you from needing a corneal transplant.
Latest Corneal Transplant Techniques
If you need corneal transplant surgery, we offer the latest corneal transplant techniques to remove only the diseased portion of your cornea, rather than all the layers of the cornea. This preserves the structural integrity of your eye, allows you to recover faster, and can minimize your risk of rejection.
Artificial Cornea Implants
If you have not had success with standard corneal transplants, you may be a candidate for artificial cornea implants (keratoprosthesis). We are one of the few eye centers in the region with expertise in this procedure.
Specialized Care for Infants and Children
For younger patients, our cornea specialists partner with Duke pediatric ophthalmologists who are experienced in meeting the unique vision and eye health needs of infants and children. We use a team approach to help your child develop the best vision possible.
Patient Support Services
You can also benefit from our patient support services, including educational materials and programs, a low vision rehabilitation program, and a dedicated social worker to help you and your loved ones manage your condition and maximize your quality of life.