Hereditary corneal dystrophies digital illustration

Hereditary corneal dystrophies Save

ICD-10 code: H18.5

Chapter: Diseases of the eye and adnexia

Understanding Hereditary Corneal Dystrophies

Hereditary corneal dystrophies refer to a group of genetic eye disorders that affect the cornea, the clear layer covering the front of the eye. These disorders can cause vision problems and discomfort, and in some cases, can lead to blindness.

The cornea is made up of several layers of tissue, including the outer epithelium, the stroma, and the inner endothelium. Hereditary corneal dystrophies can affect any of these layers, causing a range of symptoms and complications.

  1. Epithelial dystrophies: These affect the outer layer of the cornea and can cause recurrent corneal erosions, which lead to pain and sensitivity to light.
  2. Stromal dystrophies: These affect the middle layer of the cornea and can cause cloudiness or opacity, which can affect vision.
  3. Endothelial dystrophies: These affect the inner layer of the cornea and can cause swelling, which can also affect vision.

Hereditary corneal dystrophies are caused by mutations in certain genes that affect the production or function of proteins in the cornea. These mutations are usually inherited from one or both parents and can be passed down through multiple generations.

There are several types of hereditary corneal dystrophies, each with its own set of symptoms and complications. Some of the most common types include:

  • Macular dystrophy: This affects the stroma and can cause a gradual loss of vision over time.
  • Lattice dystrophy: This affects the stroma and can cause a lattice-like pattern of cloudiness in the cornea.
  • Fuchs' dystrophy: This affects the endothelium and can cause swelling and cloudiness in the cornea, as well as pain and sensitivity to light.

Diagnosis of hereditary corneal dystrophies usually involves a comprehensive eye exam, including a visual acuity test, a slit-lamp exam, and a corneal topography test. Genetic testing may also be used to confirm a diagnosis and identify the specific gene mutation responsible for the condition.

Treatment for hereditary corneal dystrophies depends on the specific type of dystrophy and the severity of symptoms. In some cases, eye drops or ointments may be used to alleviate discomfort or reduce swelling. In more severe cases, corneal transplantation may be necessary to restore vision and improve quality of life.