Corneal abnormalities in incontinentia pigmenti: histopathological and confocal correlations

Deepan Selvadurai, Diva R Salomão, Keith H Baratz
Cornea 2008, 27 (7): 833-6

PURPOSE: To describe the clinical presentation and histopathologic and confocal correlations in a case of incontinentia pigmenti (IP)-associated whorllike corneal epitheliopathy.

METHODS: We describe the case report of a 22-year-old woman with IP and bilateral whorllike corneal epitheliopathy, with symptomatic dry eye complaints. Slit-lamp and confocal microscopic imaging confirmed that the pathology was restricted entirely within the epithelial layer. The cornea was debrided with the hopes of alleviating symptomatic eye complaints. The excised tissue was analyzed by standard light microscopy and transmission electron microscopy.

RESULTS: In vivo confocal microscopic imaging (ConfoScan 3; Nidek, Fremont, CA) of both eyes showed the presence of multiple bright, round objects approximately 7-20 microm in diameter and located entirely within the epithelial layer. Hematoxylin-eosin-stained sections of the debrided tissue showed a mild disorganization of the overall epithelial architecture. Transmission electron microscopy noted various degrees of degenerating nuclei. The corneal epithelial defect of the patient's left eye healed by the fourth postoperative day. The new epithelium appeared normal, but at the 1-month examination, there was recurrence.

CONCLUSIONS: Histomorphologic evaluation of the surgical specimen showed abnormal changes restricted to the epithelium in our patient. The observed changes are suggestive of a primary abnormality of cell maturation, which results in degeneration, and apoptosis as the epithelial cells migrate upward. The rapid recurrence of keratopathy clearly indicates that supportive treatment of blurred vision and secondary superficial punctate keratopathy with artificial tears, punctal plugs, and bandage contact lens are more likely to be beneficial.

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