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Recurrent Erosion Syndrome

Recurrent erosion syndrome (RES) refers to repeated episodes of superficial, spontaneous abrasions leading to eye pain. Erosions are “scratches” on the surface of the cornea, the clear portion of the eye overlying the iris and the pupil. In many cases, the cells of the outer layer of the cornea are loosely attached to the underlying tissue. These cells spontaneously slough leading to recurrent erosions. Most episodes occur without an identifiable precipitant. RES remains a common and often under diagnosed condition that can have a great impact on the quality of life for patients.

Patients typically report attacks of mild to severe eye pain, redness, tearing, and light sensitivity. Some patients may report blurred vision. Most patients report symptoms after awakening from sleep. During rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, the eyelids contact the moving cornea leading to abrasions, which present the symptoms listed above. A small proportion of patients report pain after trying to open their eyes in the morning.

What are the Causes?

RES typically occurs in eyes that have suffered from an abrasive injury such as from a fingernail or paper cut. The area heals initially, but is prone to recurrent erosions in the future. Some patients may have an underlying corneal dystrophy that predisposes to RES.

What Treatments are available?

The treatment of recurrent erosion syndrome is often inadequate, with many patient suffering with symptoms for years. At LaserVision, the surgeons can perform the most effective treatment with the aid of the excimer laser. Photo therapeutic keratectomy (PTK), which uses the excimer laser to treat the surface, has the highest success rates for treating RES as proven by several studies.

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