Corneal Dystrophy

A fellowship-trained corneal surgeon and head of a highly competitive corneal fellowship program, Sandra Belmont, MD, FACS, is renowned for her work in the field. Not only does Dr. Belmont offer individuals in New York City LASIK and cataract surgery, she also has extensive expertise in diagnosing and treating corneal disease, including a group of rare hereditary corneal disorders known as corneal dystrophies.

If you have been diagnosed with corneal dystrophy or you think you may be suffering from a form of corneal dystrophy, Dr. Belmont can help. She stays abreast of the most advanced treatment options for the different forms of corneal dystrophy, including corneal transplantation, and can recommend an appropriate treatment plan to protect or restore your vision.

What All Corneal Dystrophies Have in Common

Corneal dystrophy is characterized by an accumulation of irregular material, including cholesterol and lipid crystals, in the cornea, or the transparent window in the front of the eye. Most corneal dystrophies start in one of the five layers of the cornea and may ultimately extend into nearby layers. Most forms of corneal dystrophy impact both eyes, progress gradually and do not impact other areas of the body. They are also apt to run in families.

Symptoms of Corneal Dystrophy

The symptoms of corneal dystrophy can vary by type. Some forms of corneal dystrophy do not present any noticeable symptoms while others can severely impair vision. The age of onset also varies by person and by the type of corneal dystrophy.

Generally speaking, however, one symptom that is common to many types of corneal dystrophy is recurrent corneal erosion. With recurrent corneal erosion, the epithelium (the layer of cells lining the inside of the cornea) does not adhere properly to the eye, often causing pain or discomfort, sensitivity to light, blurred eyesight and/or a sensation that feels like there is foreign debris in the eye (e.g., an eyelash, dirt).

Types of Corneal Dystrophy

There are more than 20 types of corneal dystrophy, which are typically subdivided based on what part of the cornea they affect.

Some examples of anterior, or superficial, dystrophies are epithelial basement membrane dystrophy, Lisch corneal dystrophy, Reis-Bukcler corneal dystrophy and Thiel-Behnke corneal dystrophy, among others.

Stromal dystrophies include lattice corneal dystrophy, macular corneal dystrophy and Schnyder crystalline corneal dystrophy, as well as others.

Finally, posterior dystrophies include congenital hereditary endothelial dystrophy, Fuchs’ (endothelial) dystrophy and posterior polymorphous corneal dystrophy.

Corneal Dystrophy Treatment Options

Manhattan corneal surgeon Dr. Belmont recommends an appropriate treatment option based on your type of corneal dystrophy and how advanced the condition is.

Early stages of certain types of corneal dystrophy may be asymptomatic and may not need any intervention. In these cases, Dr. Belmont simply monitors the patient’s condition. Eye drops or ointments may be recommended for other corneal dystrophies in their early stages to alleviate symptoms or minimize corneal edema (swelling of the cornea).

If your corneal dystrophy has progressed into more advanced stages and is impairing your vision, Dr. Belmont may recommend corneal surgery to restore clear vision, including laser eye surgery or a corneal transplant (keratoplasty). Keratoplasty procedures have been very successful in treating patients with advanced corneal dystrophy symptoms.

The Next Step in Diagnosing and Treating Corneal Dystrophy

If you are experiencing eye pain, irregular sensitivity to light, poor vision or other related symptoms and think you may be suffering from a form of corneal dystrophy, contact Belmont Eye Center right away to schedule an appointment with Dr. Belmont. She will perform a thorough eye exam, diagnose your condition and discuss appropriate treatment options for you. As a respected authority in the field of corneal surgery, she knows the most effective way to treat your specific form of corneal dystrophy.

To schedule a comprehensive consultation with Dr. Belmont to find out if you have a type of corneal dystrophy, please contact Belmont Eye Center by calling (212) 486-2020 or by clicking here.