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Recurrent corneal erosion: a comprehensive review

Authors Miller DD, Hasan SA, Simmons NL, Stewart MW

Received 18 August 2018

Accepted for publication 21 December 2018

Published 11 February 2019 Volume 2019:13 Pages 325—335

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/OPTH.S157430

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Cristina Weinberg

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Scott Fraser


Darby D Miller,1 Syed A Hasan,1 Nathaniel L Simmons,2 Michael W Stewart1

1Department of Ophthalmology, Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, FL 32224, USA; 2Department of Ophthalmology, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY 14642, USA

Purpose: To comprehensively review the literature regarding recurrent corneal erosion (RCE) and to present treatment options and recommendations for management.
Overview: RCE usually presents with sharp, unilateral pain upon awakening, in an eye with an underlying basement membrane dystrophy, prior ocular trauma, stromal dystrophy or degeneration, or prior surgery for refractive errors, cataracts, or corneal transplantation. Making the correct diagnosis requires a careful slit-lamp examination of both eyes coupled with a high degree of suspicion. Several treatments are commonly used for RCE but new therapies have been introduced recently. Conservative treatment consists of antibiotic and preservative-free lubricating drops, with topical cycloplegics and oral analgesics to control pain. Patients who are unresponsive to these therapies may benefit from therapeutic bandage contact lenses (BCL). Newer therapies include oral matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) inhibitors, blood-derived eye drops, amniotic membrane graft application, and judicious application of topical corticosteroids. Once the epithelium is healed, a course of hypertonic saline solution and/or ointment can be used. Surgical procedures may be performed in patients who fail conservative therapy. Punctal occlusion with plugs increases the tear film volume. Epithelial debridement with diamond burr polishing (DBP), anterior stromal puncture (ASP), or alcohol delamination should be considered in selected patients. DBP can be used for patients with basement membrane dystrophies and is the preferred treatment overall due to a low recurrence rate. ASP can be used for erosions outside the central visual axis. Excimer laser phototherapeutic keratectomy is an attractive option in eyes with central RCE since it precisely removes tissue while preserving corneal transparency. In patients with RCE who are also candidates for refractive surgery, photorefractive keratectomy can be considered.
Summary: Newly introduced therapies for RCE enable therapy to be individualized and lower the recurrence rate.

Keywords: recurrent corneal erosion, anterior basement membrane dystrophy, map-dot-fingerprint dystrophy, epithelial basement membrane dystrophy, corneal abrasion

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