Corneal Dystrophies

Corneal dystrophies describe a number of eye conditions in which there is an abnormal build-up of cloudy material on the cornea. When these substances accumulate, light cannot be focused properly, which affects images being processed by the brain.

Common Characteristics of Dystrophies

Most corneal dystrophies are inherited and involve both eyes. Some of the other items they share are:

  • Some patients experience no symptoms at all
  • Vision loss or impairment
  • Pain
  • Light sensitivity
  • A scratchy feeling as if a particle is in the eye
  • Both eyes are affected
  • The disease progresses gradually

There are more than 20 different types of corneal dystrophies. Some of the most common ones are Fuchs' dystrophy, keratoconus and lattice dystrophy. The majority of corneal dystrophies progress slowly, starting in one layer of the cornea and sometimes advancing to other layers over time.

Treatment of Corneal Dystrophies

Treatment of corneal dystrophies will depend on the condition diagnosed and the severity of its symptoms. In many cases, conservative measures such as wearing special contact lenses that can protect the cornea, will be initially used. For some patients with corneal dystrophies, a corneal transplant may eventually become necessary to restore vision.

Additional Resources