Diseases affecting the cornea are a major cause of blindness all over the world, second only to cataract in overall importance. A range of infectious and inflammatory eye conditions affect the transparency of the cornea and cause corneal blindness. They add a substantial burden to the community in general and healthcare resources in particular all over the world. Further, individuals with corneal blindness are usually of a younger age group compared with those suffering from cataract. Hence, in terms of total blind years, the impact of corneal blindness is greater.
The cornea department at Aravind Eye Hospital includes management of corneal and external eye diseases, anterior segment trauma and ocular surface disorders including dry eye, contact lens related eye problems and refractive surgery services. The clinic works with the Department of Microbiology for management of infectious keratitis. With a largely rural agricultural community, there are a considerable number of patients with corneal ulcers who attend the clinic. The cornea clinic co-manages ocular conditions by appropriate referral to other departments as well as to other medical specialities as required.
Significant conditions managed in this clinic are Infectious keratitis, Keratoconus, Corneal dystrophies and ocular trauma. The first case of Acanthamoeba keratitis in non-contact lens wearers was reported in the cornea clinic at Aravind-Madurai.
Through the Rotary Aravind International Eye Bank, patients with corneal blindness receive corneal transplants almost daily.
Cornea services are available at Aravind – Madurai, Chennai, Tirunelveli, Coimbatore, Pondicherry and Salem.