Recurrent Corneal Erosions

Recurrent corneal erosion is a disorder of the eyes ¬†characterized by the failure of the cornea’s outermost layer of¬†epithelial to attach to the underlying basement membrane (Bowman’s Layer).

The condition is excruciatingly painful because the loss of these cells results in the exposure of sensitive corneal nerves.

Symptoms and Signs

Symptoms include recurring attacks of severe acute ocular pain, foreign-body sensation, photophobia (i.e. sensitivity to bright lights), and tearing often at the time of awakening or during sleep when the eyelids are rubbed or opened. Signs of the condition include corneal abrasion or localized roughening of the corneal epithelium, sometimes with map-like lines, epithelial dots or microcyts, or fingerprint patterns. An epithelial defect may be present, usually in the inferior interpalpebral zone.


The erosion may be seen by a doctor using the magnification of an ophthalmoscope, although usually fluorescein stain must be applied first and a blue-light used. Opticians, optometrists and ophthalmologists have use of slit lamp microscopes that allow for more thorough evaluation under the higher magnification. Mis-diagnosis of a scratched cornea is fairly common, especially in younger patients.

Please call and schedule an appointment at your local Palm Beach Eye Center today.