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Recurrent Corneal Erosion / Corneal Abrasion



The thin layer that covers and protects the cornea is called the corneal epithelium (skin). If the cornea is scratched the eye becomes very red, watery, and painful; and the skin (epithelium) normally heals within 24-48 hours. The new skin will stick firmly to the corneal bed underneath it. However, occasionally it does not stick very well leading to weakly adherent and loose skin which tends to slough away from minor causes such us gentle rub of the eye or dry eye conditions.


Normally the eye dry out over night and is very dry in the morning. The eyelid might get stuck to the skin (corneal epithelium) and slough it away on opening the eyes in the morning. This is why recurrent corneal erosion is worse and often starts in the mornings. Other causes of recurrent corneal erosion syndrome include congenital corneal dystrophies and diabetes). Treatment varies from using artificial tears to hypertonic eye ointment, to specialized contact lenses. The later might act as a barrier and protect the cornea allowing for a good healing underneath it.


If this dose not work, then the next options are invasive and varies from corneal stromal puncture if the injury is not in the central cornea, alcohol delamination, brushing the corneal surface with diamond burr, photo therapeutic keratectomy (PTK) which is using the laser to remove some layers of the cornea.


The condition can affect both adults and children. The condition can manifest in children as early as 6 months of life. Often it is secondary to congenital corneal dystrophy. Disease control in children can be challenging and management options should be modified to suite paediatirc cases.