What is recurrent corneal erosion syndrome (RCES)?

It is a common condition that affects the top layer of the cornea (the clear window on the front of your eye). This layer is called the epithelium and it has a tendency to peel off from time to time causing recurrent erosions (scratches).

What are the symptoms of RCES?

Symptoms include pain, watering, blurred vision and sensitivity to light. Typically, the erosion may occur in the night or on waking up in the morning.

What causes RCES?

RCES may occur in people who have an inherent weakness of the epithelium or following a scratch or injury to the eye. The symptoms may occur many months or years following the initial injury.

What is the treatment for RCES?

The mainstay treatment is plenty of lubricant eye drops during the day and ointment at night. This reduces the friction between the eyelids and cornea, allowing the epithelium to stick back onto the cornea.

Treatment is required for at least 3 months and occasionally you may be advised to continue indefinitely. If the frequency of erosions persists or worsen despite lubrication, you may require further treatment such as a bandage contact lens or surgery to remove the loose epithelium.
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