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.

The clinic evaluates and treats patients with cornea and external eye diseases. State-of-the-art diagnostic facilities include Corneal topography (Orbscan IIz & Pentacam), Meibomography, AS-OCT, Specular microscopy, Ultrasonic pachymetry, and Cmicroscopy. Refractive surgery performed in the department includes Femto assisted LASIK, Microkeratome based LASIK and Photorefractive keratectomy.

Routinely performed procedures:

  • Corneal Transplantation
  • Penetrating keratoplasty (Optical / Therapeutic / Tectonic / Cosmetic)
  • Lameller keratoplasty (DSAEK / DSEK / DMEK / DALK)
    • Amniotic membrane transplantation
    • Pterygium Surgery with Fibrin Glue
    • Ocular trauma management
    • Refractive laser surgery (LASIK) and Wave front Guided Customized LASIK / PRK and FEMTO LASIK surgery
    • Limbal Stem Cell Transplantation
    • Management of Conjunctival tumours
    • Keratoprosthesis
    • Ocular surface reconstructive surgeries
    • Rose K contact lenses and Collagen Cross linking with Riboflavin (C3R) for Keratoconus patients
    • Corneal Tattooing

Other Facilities

The department is involved in various research activities both basic as well as clinical. Clinical trials for new drugs are also being conducted in the department.

On-going research:

  • Assessment of tear film alterations in post cataract surgery patients
  • Comparative study on different methods of eye drop counselling in post optical keratoplasty patients
  • Knowledge and awareness regarding eye donation- A survey
  • Microbiological and clinical outcomes of corneal collagen crosslinking (CXL) in bacterial keratitis –  A randomized control trial
  • Comparison of fibrin glue vs. sutures in lamellar corneal tear repair

Major Publications



The clinic trains ophthalmologists in the diagnosis and management of corneal diseases through clinical evaluation and research, use of various investigative procedures, medical treatment and surgical intervention.

Long Term Ophthalmology Fellowship

Fellowship in Cornea

Available at Aravind Eye Hospitals in Madurai, Tirunelveli, Coimbatore, Pondicherry, Salem