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What is the Cornea?

Cornea Close-up

The cornea is the eye’s outermost layer; it is a transparent, dome-shaped surface that covers and protects the eye from bacteria, dirt, and other harmful substances. The cornea is also critical in how we process images – the curved surface of the cornea refracts light as it enters the eye, and the curvature of the cornea can impact how well we see objects up close and at a distance.

Corneal health is critical to the overall health of our eyes. If the cornea is damaged, it can cause vision loss or distortions. Some ways in which the cornea can be damaged are from disease, injury, or infection. Should it be determined that damage has impacted your corneas, it is important to find an experienced corneal specialist to help prevent vision loss and restore eye health.

Dr. Ravi Shah is an experienced corneal surgeon in greater Northampton county, specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of Corneal Diseases. Dr. Shah is also experienced in Corneal Transplantation, including partial and full-thickness transplants. Included in his specialties are elective corneal surgeries, such as LASIK eye surgery.

Corneal services offered by Dr. Shah include:

  • Pterygium removal
  • Corneal transplants
  • Keratoconus treatment
  • LASIK vision correction

Pterygium Removal

Pterygium Condition

A pterygium is a growth of pink, fleshy tissue on the conjunctiva of the eye. Pterygium typically develops slowly, forming at the inside of the eye and developing outward toward the pupil. In some cases, it can begin to grow over the pupil of the eye.

Pterygium often impacts those who spend a lot of time outdoors and are exposed to wind and sun without protection from UV rays. While it is not a serious condition, it can sometimes cause a foreign-body sensation in the eye. If the pterygium causes discomfort or interferes with vision, it can be removed in an outpatient procedure.

If you believe you may have pterygium and wish to be evaluated for pterygium surgery, contact our office today!

Corneal Transplants

When non-surgical options have been exhausted for the treatment of corneal disease or scarring, a corneal transplant may be necessary to heal the eye and restore vision. During a corneal transplant, Dr. Shah will remove the diseased portion of the cornea, replacing it with corneal donor tissue that is secured with sutures. The procedure is performed with the patient under local or general anesthesia.

DSEK is corneal transplantation option available with Dr. Shah that is used for the treatment of corneal diseases in the inner layers of the cornea, such as Fuchs’ Dystrophy. The DSEK technique only uses a thin portion of donor corneal tissue – by only transplanting a thin corneal layer, recovery times tend to be more rapid than a full-thickness corneal transplant.

Dr. Shah will prescribe the use of eye drops following the procedure, and it is extremely important in facilitating healing that patients adhere to instructions provided following the corneal transplant.


Diagram of a Normal Cornea
Diagram of a cornea with Keratoconus

Keratoconus occurs when collagen fibers in the eyes become weak and are unable to hold the shape of the eye, which then progressively develops a cone-like shape. This may occur gradually over the course of several years, but sometimes happens more quickly. These changes in the shape of the cornea cause vision problems such as blurring, glare, and halos.

Dr. Shah provides treatment of Keratoconus using Scleral Contact Lenses. These lenses are shaped to smooth the optical surface and correct vision problems caused by keratoconus. They are much larger than traditional contact lenses because they cover the entire corneal surface and can provide enhanced results as compared to regular contacts or glasses.

Corneal Specialist in Pennsylvania

Dr. Ravi Shah is an experienced corneal specialist, offering his services to patients throughout Pennsylvania. If you have a corneal disease or are experiencing vision loss due to corneal distortions, contact the office of Ravi Shah, M.D. for a consultation on vision correction and treatment options.

Contact Us

  • 400 North 17th St.
    Suite 100-106
    Allentown, PA 18104
  • 610-433-0450
Map of Our Allentown Location
  • 3535 High Point Blvd.
    Suite 800
    Bethlehem, PA 18017
  • 610-867-9900
Map of Our Bethlehem Location