What is the Cornea?
The cornea is the transparent, outermost part of the eye that covers the iris (the colored part) and the pupil (the black center). Although appearing to be one clear membrane, the human cornea actually has five distinct layers. The cornea functions like a window, allowing the image you are looking at to be carried in the form of light waves to the interior of your eye.
The cornea protects the eye from environmental debris and filters some of the sun’s most damaging UV rays. Because the cornea is the outermost part of the eye, 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.
In order to function properly and provide clear vision, the cornea must remain healthy and clear. When the cornea is damaged by injury, disease or hereditary conditions, it may become swollen or scarred. These scars may cause the cornea to scatter or distort light, resulting in reduced vision, sometimes to the point of blindness. The smoothness and shape of the cornea is also vitally important to its proper functioning. If either the surface smoothness or the clarity of the cornea is disturbed, vision becomes distorted.