• When Does Vision Improve with RCE?


    Question:

    I was diagnosed with recurring corneal erosion. It's been 8 days since I've seen my ophthalmologist and 11 days since initial onset. What is the general time-frame for my vision to come back as my left eye is blurry and has yet to improve. I've used prescription drops to reduce inflammation but then have used "Blink Gel Tears" and "Refresh PM" for a week with no improvement. 


    Answer:

    In Recurrent Corneal Erosion (RCE) syndrome, patients suffer from repeated corneal abrasions (scratch or scrape to outer layer of eye), which, if they occur in the center part of the cornea can lead to blurred vision. When someone gets a corneal abrasion, there are generally two stages of wound healing. First, epithelial cells (cells that make up outer layer of cornea) move in and cover the wounded area in an effort to fix the damaged surface. Once this stage is completed, the typical sharp pain of the abrasion resolves. The second stage is for the cells to multiply and reorganize to reform the normal density of cells. Only after this stage is complete is the normal smooth surface of the cornea restored and the vision returns to normal. The length of time spent in each stage of healing is different for each person, depending on the size of the abrasion as well as other factors such as stem cell function, dryness of the eye’s surface, corneal sensation, and diabetes.

    Unfortunately in some patients with RCE, the normal smooth surface never fully heals and their epithelial cells remain irregular. Your ophthalmologist may be able to see this with a test that reveals damage to the cornea. In this case, the surface irregularities can cause irregular astigmatism (misshapen cornea that can affect vision) or corneal opacities (scarring or clouding of cornea) which must be corrected before the vision improves. The ways to correct this can include waiting an extended amount of time, using a rigid gas permeable contact lens, Doxycyline (an antibiotic used to treat bacterial infections), or corneal scraping.


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