Corneal dystrophies usually are eye disorders from a genetic group, where the abnormal material will accumulate in the transparent outside layer of your eye’s cornea, and most of the time will progress. In some patients, there might not be any symptoms, while others can suffer severe impairment of their vision.

Specific symptoms or a patient’s age to develop it can vary among all the different types of corneal dystrophies. There are characteristics of these disorders that are similar to each other. Most of the time, it will affect both your eyes without affecting any other area of your body, progress slow and run in the family.

The corneal disease dystrophy can be rare, although it’s serious

There are a variety of corneal disease dystrophies that are related to a specific layer or layers of your cornea that might be affected. Your cornea has 5 layers, which consist of the outer, four in the middle, and also the inside layer. Every layer is there to protect your eye from irritating materials or infection, and it also consists of a refractive medium to bend any incoming light and steer it towards your inner lens. From there this light will be directed to your retina that converts the light into specific images and sent it to your brain.

If your cornea is cloudy it will interfere with the ability of your eye to focus the incoming light, which will cause vision impairment. Patients that experience certain symptoms may vary, and it will depend on their age and what type of dystrophy they develop.

However, certain traits will be shared among all of your corneal dystrophies, such as:

Usually, it may be inherited
Generally, it will affect both of your eyes the same
No outside factors can cause it, like a diet or injury
Most of the times it will progress slowly
The majority won’t affect any other part of your body
Most of them may occur in females or males that otherwise are healthy the same, except with Fuchs corneal dystrophy that is more prone to affect women rather than men

Common corneal dystrophy symptoms

Although dystrophies might not initially cause symptoms, it’s possible to occur in the future. Accumulation of foreign materials or scared tissues in any of the cornea’s layers, which usually occurs in all corneal dystrophies, can cause blurred vision, potential vision loss, or the loss of its transparency.

Most patients that suffer from corneal dystrophy have an area of the cornea they can’t see through. This can be very obvious for anyone to see, although most of the time it will only be detected by your doctor during an eye exam.

Many types of your corneal dystrophies will be characterized due to its recurrent erosions. This is when the outside layer of your cornea fails continually to properly adhere to your eye. Patients that experience recurrent erosion of the cornea can have severe pain or discomfort, blurred vision, the feeling of something in their eye, or abnormal sensitivities to any light.

How your doctor will diagnose this disease and what you can expect

You might just go for a routine check up when your eye specialist accidentally discovers this disease. His/her diagnosis may partly depend on when you developed the symptoms and what your age is, as well as your cornea’s appearance clinically during an exam using a slit-lamp, which is a microscope especially used to look at your eye.

In order for the doctor to confirm his/her diagnosis, they will need to perform an evaluation clinically where you need to provide a full medical history, as well as a medical history of your family, and certain tests will be performed. One of these tests can involve the removal of some tissues of your cornea to get tested and examined.
The doctor might diagnose some dystrophies with a genetic molecular test prior to you developing any symptoms.

Usually, they will provide genetic counseling with very detailed information of the particular dystrophy you have.

Treatment for corneal disease dystrophy
Treatment can depend on the kind of dystrophy disease you have, the severity of the symptoms, the progression of the disease, and also your quality of life and overall health condition.

If you only experience symptoms that are mild or no symptoms at all, the doctor can decide in postponing any treatment, and just recommend regular follow-up appointments to keep an eye on how the disease progress.

Treatments of the condition that is conservative might include ointments and eye drops. If you experience recurring erosions, they might recommend treatment with bandage contact lenses, antibiotics, ointments, hypertonic salt drops, or lubricating eye drops.

Erosion of the cornea that persists to recur, in spite of conservative treatments will be the reason that the doctor can recommend to do a scraping of the cornea by using excimer laser therapy. It will remove all abnormalities from your cornea’s surface. It’s also known as phototherapeutic keratectomy.

In the case where symptoms are advanced or severe, it will be necessary to do a corneal transplant or also called keratoplasty. However, these transplants can be effective to treat corneal dystrophy symptoms, but there might be a risk that your cornea that is donated eventually can also be affected with the same disease.

Author's Bio: 

Emma started writing at the age of 14. As the years passed she studied many fields including health, research and a variety of writing styles. Today she is a writer of health and wellness, technology, pet products and fashion articles, poetry, short stories, as well as children's stories.