Understanding Band Keratopathy

by Sep 25, 2023

Band keratopathy is a condition that affects the cornea, specifically characterized by a band of damage across the lower portion of the cornea. This condition is typically caused by exposure resulting from incomplete lid closure or damage caused by systemic conditions. Managing band keratopathy involves a multifaceted treatment approach, which includes lubrication of the eyes with ointment, nighttime eyelid taping, and addressing any underlying systemic causes.


Causes of Band Keratopathy

Band keratopathy develops as a result of a variety of factors related to corneal exposure and systemic conditions. Incomplete lid closure, which can occur due to facial nerve palsy, eyelid abnormalities, or exposure during sleep, leaves the cornea vulnerable to damage and drying. Systemic conditions such as hypercalcemia, gout, and chronic inflammation are also known to contribute to the development of band keratopathy.

The band-like pattern observed during an eye examination is a result of calcium and phosphates accumulating in the cornea, leading to an opaque layer. This calcium deposition forms a band-like appearance and gives rise to the condition’s name, band keratopathy.


Multifaceted Treatment Approaches

Managing band keratopathy usually involves a combination of approaches to alleviate symptoms, prevent further damage, and address any underlying causes. Let’s explore these treatment options in detail:

  • Lubrication with Ointments: The application of lubricating ointments or artificial tear drops helps to moisten and protect the surface of the cornea, reducing dryness and discomfort associated with band keratopathy. These ointments act as a barrier, preventing further damage and providing relief from symptoms.
  • Nighttime Eyelid Taping: Taping the eyelids shut during sleep can help to ensure complete lid closure, minimizing exposure and reducing the chances of further damage. This method, when used appropriately, can be an effective way to protect the cornea overnight.
  • Protective Eyewear: Wearing goggles or other forms of protective eyewear during the day provides an extra layer of protection to the cornea, shielding it from exposure to environmental factors, dust, and allergens that may contribute to band keratopathy.
  • Addressing Systemic Causes: If band keratopathy is associated with an underlying systemic condition, it is crucial to address and treat that condition in order to effectively manage the corneal damage. This may involve working closely with a healthcare professional, such as an endocrinologist or rheumatologist, to identify and treat the underlying cause.


Collaboration with Healthcare Professionals

When dealing with band keratopathy, seeking the expertise of a qualified eye care professional is essential. They will conduct a comprehensive eye examination, assessing the extent of corneal damage and exploring potential underlying systemic causes.

Based on the examination results, a personalized treatment plan will be devised to meet the unique needs of the patient. Regular follow-up appointments will also be necessary to monitor the progression of the condition, assess any changes, and evaluate the effectiveness of the prescribed treatment.


Long-Term Implications of Band Keratopathy

Band keratopathy can cause scarring and opacities in the cornea which are unable to be corrected and lead to permanent vision impairment.

In the most severe cases, corneal transplant surgery may also be indicated to attain the best possible vision correction.


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 band keratopathy. 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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