Ask an Eye M.D. Answer Archive

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Question:
I was diagnosed with degeneration of the cornea at age 14. I have not seen an eye doctor in 20 years. How is it treated today?    

Answer:
This depends upon the type of degeneration. If traumatic, you might have scarring and vascular ingrowth which limit the success of the standard treatment which is corneal transplantation of a donor cornea. Another type(s) of degeneration are inherited corneal dystrophies in which the structure of the normally clear cornea is taken over by internal deposits of various substances, interfering with clarity and in some cases totally obscuring the vision. These can be treated also by corneal transplantation, frequently with good results. A few have deposits only in the very superficial layers which can be vaporized off with a PRK laser procedure.

Some corneal degenerations are associated with internal eye inflammation causing a condition termed band keratopathy which is a calcium deposit obscuring the vision. This is progressive, but can be removed surgically although recurrence is common. Some corneal degenerations are due to conditions in the internal corneal layers in which poor ability of these layers to clear out fluids can lead to permanent changes in the cornea. This is usually painful so it is not likely that you have this problem.

It would be useful at this point to seek out a corneal specialist in your area who can make the actual diagnosis and recommend the best course of treatment.

Answered by: Richard Bensinger, MD  Dr. Richard Bensinger

Categories: Eye ConditionsEye Surgery 

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Answered: Apr 19, 2012

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