Treatment of Recurrent Corneal Erosion

by Mar 17, 2023

A recurrent corneal erosion is an eye condition that affects the front of the eye and often has multiple occurrences after the initial episode. The corneal erosion is an area of the top layer of the cornea that is pulled off by the eyelid upon waking in the morning, leaving a large corneal defect.

A recurrent corneal erosion is usually due to a history of previous trauma to the cornea or an underlying corneal dystrophy that has weakened the cornea. Treatment for an acute corneal erosion can include a bandage contact lens, antibiotic eye drops, and topical lubrication to prevent dryness. However, to prevent future recurrences, an eye drop can be prescribed to help prevent the drying of the weakened cornea that leads to future corneal erosions.


Causes of a Recurrent Corneal Erosion

Nearly all recurrent corneal erosions are due to either a previous corneal abrasion or corneal ulcer in the area or due to an inherited corneal dystrophy.

Any time there is a significant scratch or abrasion on the eye, it can lead to an area of the cornea that is uneven, weaker, or slightly irregular after the abrasion has healed.

This irregularity in the cornea can allow the cornea to dry out in that region and predispose for future corneal erosions.

Similarly, a corneal ulcer can have irregularities in the healing of the cornea after the resolution of the ulcer.

If the cornea has an underlying corneal dystrophy, such as epithelial basement membrane dystrophy, then the cornea may be entirely irregular and more likely to suffer from a corneal erosion.


Symptoms of a Recurrent Corneal Erosion

A recurrent corneal erosion may cause symptoms that arise upon waking including eye pain, blurred vision, a feeling as if there is something in the eye, and excessive light sensitivity.

These symptoms all stem from the new trauma to the cornea due to the eyelid opening a wound on the surface.

Often, the pain and blurred vision is worst in the morning and may begin to dissipate by the end of the day only to return worsened again in the morning.


Diagnosing a Recurrent Corneal Erosion

To have a recurrent corneal erosion diagnosed and treated, seek care from your eye doctor immediately.

Testing may be done and the health of the cornea will be assess using a yellow dye and the slit lamp microscope.

The defect in the cornea will be able to be visualized and evaluated. In addition to a thorough history, this can be used to diagnose a recurrent corneal erosion.


Treatment for a Recurrent Corneal Erosion

A recurrent corneal erosion will often be treated similarly to a corneal abrasion.

An antibiotic eye drop will be prescribed for use multiple times daily, a bandage contact lens can be placed on the injured eye, and artificial tears are recommended to be used frequently for lubrication.

Additional treatments may be helpful in some cases including an amniotic membrane contact lens or an eye drop to help reduce the likelihood of recurrence by reducing the swelling in the cornea.


Our eye doctors at Wilmington Family Eye Care in Wilmington, DE excel in the prescription of glasses, contact lenses and the diagnosis of a variety of eye diseases. Call our optometrists at 302-299-1286 or schedule an eye exam appointment online if you would like to learn more about recurrent corneal erosion. Our eye doctors, Drs. Daniel Baruffi, Amy Quan, Patricia Jones, and Joseph Goldberg provide the highest quality optometry services and eye exams in Wilmington, Delaware and its surrounding areas.

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