• Can an ophthalmologist see if corneal cells have adhered to the tissue underneath?


    Question:

    Is it possible for an ophthalmologist to see at the slit lamp (microscope with bright light used during an eye exam) if corneal epithelial cells (cells on outer layer of the cornea) have adhered to the tissue underneath? I have an epithelium which has healed after a defect, but I need to know whether it has stabilized and is capable of tolerating my rigid contact lens. Can an ophthalmologist see this definitively or is it just a judgment call?


    Answer:

    Typically, a corneal abrasion heals without a trace. So if adherence is compromised it may not be clinically recognizable. I would consult your ophthalmologist as to when it’s safe to go back to contact lenses. In my own practice, if the examination of the corneal surface appears normal and the epithelium is healed, the patient may immediately return to contacts. If you get repeated abrasions while wearing your RGP lens, you should have the fit of the contact lens reassessed by your eye doctor.


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