Altogether, 80 patients aged between 24 and 73 years with recurrent erosion of the cornea have been studied and compared with a control group of 200. The patients' erosions were divisible into macroform and microform types. The macroform occurred in 10%, the microform in 56%, and both types in the same patients in 31%. The macroform was more commonly related to trauma than the microform. However, many (40%) were spontaneous in origin. The most common cause of the initial trauma was a finger nail. The recurrences occurred at around the time of waking, either just before or just after. Difficulty in opening the eye occurred in 10%. There was little evidence of precipitating factors, but eye rubbing was admitted by 10% and barbiturates were implicated in 3%. The corneae were examined in the healed state, when a high incidence (59%) were found to have superficial corneal dystrophies of the fingerprint lines, bleb, and Bietti's lacunar (map-like) types. These are considered individually, particular attention being paid to the distinction between the various types of line resembling the fingerprint line. Epithelial microcysts were also a common finding (59%) and were sometimes of the Cogan type. In only 11% of patients were there no corneal signs in the healed state. The need for careful examination of the cornea by retroillumination, using both the iris and the fundus, is stressed. The control group, in contrast, showed a very low incidence of dystrophies and cysts. Treatment was given initially with either drops or ointment and no differences in healing were found. Debridement was performed in 12 eyes as an initial treatment and also in four eyes which were not healing on medical treatment. Debridement assisted healing, but did not prevent recurrence. One eye was treated with debridement and scarification and seven with carbolization. These procedures appeared to reduce the recurrence rate. Sodium chloride ointment 5% was found useful as a prophylactic taken at bedtime, and the recurrence rate increased when it was withdrawn.
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