Map-dot-fingerprint basement-membrane abnormalities of the cornea are common in the general population, affecting as many as 76% of persons over age 50 and 42% of persons of all ages. The prevalence of this condition in the general population is not significantly different from that found in families of patients with recurrent corneal erosions and map-dot-fingerprint corneal changes. Despite this extremely high prevalence of basement-membrane changes the incidence of recurrent erosive symptoms in total groups of patients with basement-membrane changes is quite rare, suggesting that these 2 entities are possibly not related. Although previous observers have suggested an autosomal dominant mode of inheritance of these basement-membrane changes, our data raise the possibility that map-dot-fingerprint basement-membrane changes represent an age-dependent, degenerative condition of the cornea. We were unable, however, to prove either hypothesis.
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