Corneal Erosions

Tuesday, Nov 1, 2022 by Nisha Gupta, MD

This month we will discuss recurrent corneal erosions.

What are corneal erosions and the symptoms?

A corneal erosion occurs when the top layer of the cornea, the epithelium, separates from the bottom layers. This can be very painful and cause blurry vision. This often occurs when waking up in the morning when the eyelid sticks to the epithelium and peels it off.

What are some of the risk factors for developing corneal erosions?

  • You have had a previous abrasion or injury to the cornea
  • Having very dry eyes
  • Not completely closing your eyelids while sleeping
  • Wearing contact lenses that do not fit properly
  • Wearing contact lenses that are not clean or cared for properly
  • You have a corneal condition (dystrophy)

How are these diagnosed?

These are diagnosed with an eye exam and based on patient’s history. Doctors will use fluorescein eye drops to see the extent of the erosion(s).

What are the treatments?

The first episode of a corneal erosion is treated similarly to a corneal abrasion. Antibiotic drops or ointment may be prescribed. A patch may be used to prevent the eye from blinking. A special contact lens may be used to protect the surface of the cornea.

Recurrent episodes may require additional treatment. Sodium chloride 5% drops or ointment may be used to bring the cornea layers back together. Surgery or laser may also be necessary.

Always avoid wearing your regular contact lenses while the cornea heals. It is important to keep the cornea moisturized with lubricating drops. This may prevent the erosions from happening. Rubbing the eyes should also be avoided to prevent episodes and worsening of symptoms.

Make sure to protect the corneas to prevent any injury. Wear safety glasses during any activity when something can get into the eyes or during sports. Be careful when putting on eye makeup or using a curling iron. Practice good contact lens hygiene by removing them with clean hands every night.

Return next month for a discussion on a new topic!

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