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CORNEAL EROSIONS

The cornea is the clear front "window" of the eye over the coloured part. The very front part of the cornea is called the epithelium.

A corneal erosion is a breakdown in the epithelium caused by a weakness in the adhesion of the epithelium to the rest of the cornea. This typically causes pain, redness and watering on waking up because opening the eyelids tears a few cells from the corneal surface.

The two usual causes are:

i. inherent weakness in the cornea - sometimes this weakness is inherited, and sometimes it follows other corneal disease.
ii. result of bad healing following a simple injury.

How is this Painful Condition Treated?

The most common treatment is to generously lubricate the eye (especially on retiring) to decrease the friction between the upper eyelid and the cornea and allowing the damaged epithelium to heal. Patching may reduce pain by preventing the blinking eyelid from irritating the affected area. An antibiotic may be prescribed to prevent infection.

Corneal erosions which are recurrent often require the prolonged use of ointments at bedtime (sometimes for six months or more). Sometimes a contact lens is used to facilitate healing. Other treatments may require the gentle removal of the abnormal epithelium. If the problem is recurrent and very troubling, the doctor may consider minor surgery to try to heal the eye - micropuncture of the surface, Yag laser or excimer laser treatment. Recently, difficult cases have been successfully treated with two months of tablets (doxycycline) plus three weeks of steroid drops.

What Are Possible Complications?

If bacteria get into the tissues under the protective corneal epithelium, infection or corneal ulcer can occur. These can be very serious and may cause permanently decreased vision in the eye.

© Copyright 2008 www.privateeyeclinic.com

This letter is protected by the laws of Copyright and must not be reprinted, copied or otherwise disclosed in whole or in part to any person without the written consent of Dr. Lionel Kowal.

© Copyright 2008 www.privateeyeclinic.com

This letter is protected by the laws of Copyright and must not be reprinted, copied or otherwise disclosed in whole or in part to any person without the written consent of Dr. Lionel Kowal.