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Pathogenesis, clinical features and management of recurrent corneal erosions.

Eye 2006 June
Recurrent corneal erosions (RCE) are common. They are characterised by repeated episodes of pain, difficulty in opening the eyes, watering, and photophobia resulting from poor epithelial adhesion. In the majority of patients with RCE, trauma is the initiating factor. Epithelial, stromal, and endothelial corneal dystrophies have all been described in association with RCE. Other causes that may lead to RCE include chemical and thermal injuries, previous herpetic keratitis, meibomian gland dysfunction, ocular rosacea, diabetes mellitus, Salzmann's nodular degeneration, band keratopathy, previous bacterial ulceration, kerato-conjunctivitis sicca, and epidermolysis bullosa. The conditions that are associated with RCE can be either primary or secondary depending on whether the basement membrane complex abnormality is intrinsic or acquired. Primary types tend to be bilateral, symmetrical and develop in multiple corneal locations. The pathogenetic mechanism of this disorder is related to poor adhesion of the corneal epithelium to the underlying stroma. Excessive matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) activity may play a role in the pathogenesis. Although the majority of patients will respond to simple measures such as padding and antibiotic ointment, RCE resistant to simple measures require approaches that are more elaborate. The common goal of these approaches is to encourage proper formation of adhesion complexes between the epithelium and the stroma. The use of long-term contact lenses, autologous serum eye drops, botulinum toxin, induced ptosis, oral MMP inhibitors, diamond burr polishing of Bowman's membrane have been reported with varying degree of success in treating RCE. Anterior stromal puncture with insulin needles or Neodymium : aluminium-yttrium-garnet may enhance the epithelial adhesion to the basement membrane by scar formation and success rates of up to 80% have been reported in the treatment of recalcitrant RCE. Excimer laser photo-therapeutic keratectomy (PTK) is now a well-established treatment modality for RCE and is being used both safely and effectively. Partial ablation of Bowman's layer with PTK gives a smooth surface for the newly generating epithelium to migrate and form adhesion complexes. The pathogenesis, clinical features, and management options of this common disorder are discussed in this review article.

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