The pertinent literature on inherited corneal diseases is reviewed in terms of the chromosomal localization and identification of the responsible genes. Disorders affecting the cornea have been mapped to human chromosome 1 (central crystalline corneal dystrophy, familial subepithelial corneal amyloidosis, early onset Fuchs dystrophy, posterior polymorphous corneal dystrophy), chromosome 4 (Bietti marginal crystalline dystrophy), chromosome 5 (lattice dystrophy types 1 and IIIA, granular corneal dystrophy types 1, 2 and 3, Thiel-Behnke corneal dystrophy), chromosome 9 (lattice dystrophy type II), chromosome 10 (Thiel-Behnke corneal dystrophy), chromosome 12 (Meesmann dystrophy), chromosome 16 (macular corneal dystrophy, fish eye disease, LCAT disease, tyrosinemia type II), chromosome 17 (Meesmann dystrophy, Stocker-Holt dystrophy), chromosome 20 (congenital hereditary endothelial corneal dystrophy types I and II, posterior polymorphous corneal dystrophy), chromosome 21 (autosomal dominant keratoconus) and the X chromosome (cornea verticillata, cornea farinata, deep filiform corneal dystrophy, keratosis follicularis spinulosa decalvans, Lisch corneal dystrophy). Mutations in nine genes (ARSC1, CHST6, COL8A2, GLA, GSN, KRT3, KRT12, M1S1and TGFBI [BIGH3]) account for some of the corneal diseases and three of them are associated with amyloid deposition in the cornea (GSN, M1S1, TGFBI) including most of the lattice corneal dystrophies (LCDs) [LCD types I, IA, II, IIIA, IIIB, IV, V, VI and VII] recognized by their lattice pattern of linear opacities. Genetic studies on inherited diseases affecting the cornea have provided insight into some of these disorders at a basic molecular level and it has become recognized that distinct clinicopathologic phenotypes can result from specific mutations in a particular gene, as well as some different mutations in the same gene. A molecular genetic understanding of inherited corneal diseases is leading to a better appreciation of the pathogenesis of these conditions and this knowledge has made it imperative to revise the classification of inherited corneal diseases.