Definition

Corneal degeneration is the breakdown or degeneration of corneal tissue that cause deterioration and can also sometimes impair function. It occurs rarely and gradually.

Characteristics of Corneal degeneration:

  • Deposition of material, thinning of tissue, and vascularization
  • Peripheral corneal location with or without vessels
  • Often unilateral (affects one eye)
  • Asymmetrical
  • No genetic predisposition
  • Late onset and occurs in individuals over 40 years of age

Causes of Corneal degeneration:

Corneal degeneration disorders are generally caused due environmental conditions. The main causes of corneal degeneration include the following:

  • Age
  • Injury or trauma to the eye
  • Infection and inflammation
  • Vitamin A deficiency
  • Systemic diseases
  • Oxidative stress
  • Other environmental factors like excessive exposure to UV radiations

Most common inherited disorders that cause corneal degeneration

  • Keratoconus
  • Fuchs’s endothelial dystrophy
  • Corneal ulcers

Some types of corneal degenerations

Cornea can degenerate because of the above mentioned reasons and many more. Depending upon the cause, following types of corneal degeneration can occur:

Age related:

  • Arcus senilis
  • Vogt white limbal girdle
  • Crocodile shagreen
  • Cornea guttata

Corneal Degenerations with Material Deposits

  • Salzmann’s Nodular Degeneration
  • Band Keratopathy Degeneration
  • Lipid keratopathy:
    • Primary
    • Secondary
  • Spheroidal Keratopathy
  • Vortex Keratopathy

Corneal Degenerations with Tissue Thinning:

  • Terrien’s Marginal Degeneration
  • Dellen

Others:

  • White Limbal Girdle of Vogt
  • Furrow Degeneration
  • Mooren’s Ulcer

Symptoms of Corneal degeneration

Most of the corneal degeneration are asymptomatic and visually insignificant but some may cause pain and profound loss of vision.

Treatment of Corneal degeneration

Treatment typically depends upon the type of degeneration and is best decided by the treating eye doctor. Correct diagnosis is required for therapeutic choice and the efficacy of clinical outcomes.

  • Medical therapy consists of lubrication, warm compresses, eye hygiene, topical steroids, and/or oral doxycycline.
  • Most of the cases of corneal degeneration needs corneal transplant as the degenerated cornea do not regenerate.