Contributor: Gordon K. Klintworth
Neovascularization of the cornea is a common reaction in the cornea in some, but not all corneal diseases. It is found in conditions that cause an inflammatory cell infiltation into the cornea. Under conditions that lead to an ingrowth of blood vessels into the cornea lymphatic vessels also invade the corneal stroma. Variable degrees of corneal edema [edema - cornea] usually precede the growth of blood vessels into the cornea, but corneal vascularization is not a manifestation of those types of corneal edema that complicate situations in which the corneal endothelium is defective as in Fuchs corneal dystrophy and other causes of bullous keratopathy [keratopathy - bullous]. Corneal neovascularization is a manifestation of some rare inherited disorders, such as IFAP syndrome. Vascularized corneas are high risk for graft rejection following a penetrating keratoplasty.