Recurrent erosions of the cornea: epidemiology and treatment

Cornea. 2000 Nov;19(6):767-71. doi: 10.1097/00003226-200011000-00001.


Purpose: To evaluate the epidemiologic characteristics of a large clinical population of patients with recurrent erosions of the cornea. The efficacy of different modalities of treatment was also evaluated.

Methods: A retrospective chart review of all patients with the diagnosis of recurrent corneal erosion treated between January 1990 and December 1998 was performed.

Results: Clinically confirmed recurrent erosions were identified in 104 patients. There were 36 males and 68 females. A history of trauma was present in 47 patients (45%), 30 patients (29%) had epithelial basement membrane dystrophy (EBMD), and 18 patients (17%) had both a history of trauma and evidence of EBMD. More than 87% of all erosions occurred on the inferior third of the cornea. Conservative therapy was used as the primary treatment in 52 patients with a recurrence rate of 6%. Corneal stromal micropuncture was performed on 38 patients with a recurrence rate of 40%. Eleven patients had epithelial debridement with a recurrence rate of 18%. Four patients had a superficial keratectomy with a diamond bur with a recurrence rate of 25%. Only one patient had an excimer phototherapeutic keratectomy, and she had a minor recurrence posttreatment.

Conclusions: In our series, the distribution of trauma and EBMD in patients with recurrent erosions of the cornea is roughly equivalent. Conservative therapy was effective in approximately one half of the patients. All surgical treatment modalities were associated with recurrences. Those patients with both EBMD and trauma were more likely to have a recurrence after treatment. More effective treatment modalities for recurrent erosions of the cornea need to be investigated.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Topical
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Contact Lenses, Extended-Wear*
  • Corneal Ulcer / epidemiology*
  • Corneal Ulcer / etiology
  • Corneal Ulcer / therapy*
  • Debridement* / instrumentation
  • Epithelium, Corneal / pathology
  • Epithelium, Corneal / surgery
  • Equipment Design
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Lasers, Excimer
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Ointments / administration & dosage
  • Photorefractive Keratectomy* / methods
  • Punctures* / instrumentation
  • Recurrence
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Saline Solution, Hypertonic / administration & dosage*


  • Ointments
  • Saline Solution, Hypertonic