Corneal Dystrophies

Corneal DystrophiesCorneal dystrophies are inherited disorders of the cornea. They are bilateral and progressive. There is no element of inflammation or environmental risk factors that predispose you to these disorders.

There are five layers to the cornea. Most of the dystrophies are classified according to which layer of the cornea is affected by the dystrophy.

Anterior corneal dystrophies affect the superficial layers of the cornea. They include map-dot-fingerprint dystrophy which leads to recurrent corneal erosions and Meesman dystrophy which causes eye irritation and can affect vision.

Corneal dystrophy of Bowman’s layer, which is another superficial layer of the cornea, includes Reis-Bücklers dystrophy and Thiel-Behnke dystrophy. Both of these dystrophies can lead to painful recurrent corneal erosions and scarring of the cornea. Treatment is the same as it would be for recurrent erosion syndrome (mentioned above). Occasionally, a corneal transplant is required.

Our SightMD eye care professionals also diagnose and treat stromal corneal dystrophies. The stroma is the middle layer of the cornea. These dystrophies include lattice dystrophy, granular dystrophy, macular dystrophy, gelatinousdroplike dystrophy and Schnyder crystalline corneal dystrophy. Some of these corneal dystrophies progress to a point where the only treatment is a corneal transplant. Others can be managed medically, without the need for surgery.

Finally, there are endothelial dystrophies that affect the innermost layer of the cornea such as Fuchs’ endothelial dystrophy and posterior polymorphous dystrophy (PPMD). These range in severity from asymptomatic to painful corneal swelling requiring a corneal transplant.

Any individual with a family member with a known diagnosis of a corneal dystrophy should be evaluated by an ophthalmologist at our surgical centers. They are hereditary, and many of them are autosomal dominant.

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