Corneal Erosion: The Treatment and Symptoms

Ever woken up in the morning and felt as though your eyes were not only dry, but also light sensitive, sore, and even pretty painful?

Or what about constant tearing, and if even like your eyes had sand or grit in them?

On top of that, have you noticed that you also suffer from headaches or blurred vision at the same time as this discomfort?

If you answered yes to more than two of the above questions, then the chances are pretty high you’ve experienced a corneal erosion.

The Symptoms of Corneal Erosion

The cornea is a dome-shaped surface which, much like our skin, protects and covers the front of the eye.

Corneal erosion is when the epithelium layer of the cornea (a bit like the epidermis, the outermost layer of the skin), wears away. In many cases, this occurs spontaneously, and it is often regarded as one of the most common and neglected ocular disorders.

One of the reasons for this is symptoms of corneal erosion are similar to those of a corneal abrasion: the feeling of something in your eye, pain and soreness of the eye, redness of the eye, sensitivity to light, tearing and blurred vision.

However, whereas a corneal abrasion has to do with scratches, scrapes, or cuts on the eye, a corneal erosion is caused by a loose attachment of the epithelium to the tissue underneath.

Treating Corneal Erosions

Treating a corneal erosion is often straightforward and varies from lubricating drops, topical ointment, and using a therapeutic contact lens (TCL) which reduces the pain and encourages healing.

In cases where the corneal erosions have occurred several times, minor surgery of the corneal surface may be necessary.

Recurrent corneal erosion (RCE) occurs when the epithelium (the outermost layer of the cornea) is not being properly anchored to the next layers of the cornea. Further treatment may be needed and a few options include:

  1. Performing a procedure called anterior stromal puncture. This involves making tiny holes on the surface of the cornea to promote stronger attachments between the top layer of corneal cells and the layer of the cornea underneath;
  2. Gentle removal of the damaged epithelium (the outermost layer of the cornea);
  3. Removal of a small layer of corneal cells using a laser.

Laser Eye Surgery: A Solution to Corneal Erosions

Other than the treatments outlined above, as it is a minimally invasive and considered one of the only effective therapies over the long-term, another, and often far more attractive option for treating recurrent corneal erosion, is Laser Eye Surgery.

Phototherapeutic keratectomy (PTK) is a type of laser surgery that involves selectively removing cells on the surface layer of the cornea. PTK can sometimes be used with photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) treatment to also treat any scarring as well as correcting a refractive error, such as short or longsightedness.

At the London Vision Clinic, we do not primarily provide treatment for RCE. However, if a patient was in the process of being assessed for refractive surgery and showed symptoms of RCE during our rigorous screening process, we would provide the appropriate advice for treating the condition in the best and most appropriate way for you.

To find out more about how Laser Eye Surgery can help people with corneal erosions and find out if you may be a suitable candidate for treatment, drop us a comment below or get in touch with our team.