Your cornea is the lens in the front of your eye. It covers your pupil and your iris, and focuses the light that enters your eye. Sometimes your cornea can become covered with mucous plaques. Mucous plaques are made of mucous, as well as protein and fat cells. Here are four things you need to know about corneal mucous plaques.
What are the signs of corneal mucous plaques?
If you develop a corneal mucous plaque, you'll notice that your vision is blurred. This blurring develops because the plaque prevents light from passing through your cornea. You may notice additional symptoms like the feeling that you have something stuck in your eye, or pain.
Why do corneal mucous plaques form?
Many factors are involved in the formation of corneal mucous plaques. Abnormalities in the cells that make up the outer layer of the cornea or the formation of excessive mucous are both factors. These cell abnormalities keep the cells from peeling off and being replaced as they normally would, which allows the cells to accumulate. These excess cells mix with the excess mucous to form plaques.
Excess mucous can be caused by dehydration, or by conditions like dry eye syndrome. It can also occur as a result of staphylococcal infections. Systemic diseases like rheumatoid arthritis or Sjogren syndrome may also play a role in the development of excess mucous.
Can they damage your vision?
Corneal mucous plaques don't damage the surface of your cornea. These plaques affect your vision while they are present, but once they are treated, your vision will return to normal. Make sure to seek treatment as soon as you notice vision changes so that your optometrist can help you regain your vision.
How is this condition treated?
Your optometrist can give you medicated eye drops that will loosen your plaque and dissolve the excess mucous. If your plaques are too severe to be removed with eye drops, your optometrist can remove them manually. This can be done by rubbing the plaques with cotton swabs or a sponge.
Surgical removal is also possible in severe cases. Your optometrist will refer you to an eye surgeon who will carefully cut away the plaques.
Once the plaques are gone, you may need treatments to keep them from coming back. If you have dry eyes, your optometrist may tell you to use artificial tears to keep your eyes moist and free of excess mucous.
If your vision is blurred, see an optometrist such as Dr. Diane Trevis right away. You may have corneal mucous plaques, an easily-treatable condition.