How Corneal Haze Can Cause Changes in Your Vision

Woman getting cornea examined at doctor

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Corneal haze describes a cloudy or opaque appearance of the cornea. The cornea is the clear front window of the eye. It is the part of the eye that transmits and focuses light into the eye. The cornea is a fairly complex structure that has five layers. If this part of your eye becomes damaged through disease, infection, or injury, scarring can interfere with your vision by blocking or distorting light as it enters the eye.

The cornea is normally clear, so corneal haze can greatly impair your vision. Although the haze can occur in any part of the cornea, it is most often found in the thicker, middle layer of the cornea, called the stroma.

Symptoms of Corneal Haze

Corneal haze may cause vision to be blurry, unfocused or obscured. It can also cause halos to be visible around light, especially at night or in the dark. Sometimes, however, corneal haze does not cause any vision problems at all, although a doctor can usually detect it during an eye examination.


Corneal haze most often appears after trauma, infection, or surgery. It is usually caused by inflammatory cells and other debris that is activated inside the eye.

Corneal haze also sometimes occurs during laser vision correction procedures. Although it can occur in LASIK, it is more often associated with procedures such as PRK or LASEK.


When corneal haze appears after surgery or other wounds, it will usually disappear as the eye heals. In more severe cases, a doctor may prescribe eye drops or other medication. The haze that develops following refractive surgery normally resolves after a few days, but sometimes takes up to six months. 

Corneal haze is usually successfully treated in post-laser surgery patients with medicated eye drops. The symptoms of seeing halos and glare usually resolve before the haze fully disappears. 


If your eyes are not healthy or if your overall health is suffering, you are more likely to develop corneal haze after having refractive surgery. However, haze is not common in LASIK patients, even when the amount of correction is high. It may be preferable to choose LASIK instead of PRK, LASEK, or Epi-Lasik if you have a high prescription and there is concern for corneal haze.

Also, using certain eye drops during surgery reduces the probability of developing corneal haze. Ask your eye surgeon for recommendations. 

Researchers have found that patients who take 500 mg of vitamin C twice a day for a week before PRK, LASEK, or Epi-Lasik and at least two weeks after surgery may be less likely to develop corneal haze.

A Word From Verywell

The symptoms of corneal haze are not always associated with refractive surgery. Corneal haze can be caused by serious problems that may require immediate attention. If you develop symptoms of corneal haze, it is best to see an eye doctor immediately.

5 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  3. Reilly CD, Panday V, Lazos V, Mittelstaedt BR. PRK vs LASEK vs Epi-LASIK: a comparison of corneal haze, postoperative pain and visual recovery in moderate to high myopia. Nepal J Ophthalmol. 2010;2(2):97-104. doi:10.3126/nepjoph.v2i2.3715

  4. Tomás-juan J, Murueta-goyena larrañaga A, Hanneken L. Corneal regeneration after photorefractive keratectomy: a review. J Optom. 2015;8(3):149-69. doi:10.1016/j.optom.2014.09.001

  5. Azar DT, Chang JH, Han KY. Wound healing after keratorefractive surgery: review of biological and optical considerations. Cornea. 2012;31 Suppl 1:S9-19. doi:10.1097/ICO.0b013e31826ab0a7

By Troy Bedinghaus, OD
Troy L. Bedinghaus, OD, board-certified optometric physician, owns Lakewood Family Eye Care in Florida. He is an active member of the American Optometric Association.