Neurotrophic keratoconjunctivitis digital illustration

Neurotrophic keratoconjunctivitis Save

ICD-10 code: H16.23

Chapter: Diseases of the eye and adnexia

Understanding Neurotrophic Keratoconjunctivitis: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments

Neurotrophic keratoconjunctivitis (NKC) is a rare eye condition that affects the cornea and conjunctiva. It occurs due to damage to the trigeminal nerve, which is responsible for providing sensation to the eyes. The condition leads to a reduced ability to feel pain, touch, and temperature in the eyes.

The trigeminal nerve damage can be caused by various factors, including viral infections, nerve injuries, and autoimmune diseases. It can also occur as a side effect of certain medications, such as chemotherapy drugs. People with diabetes are also at a higher risk of developing NKC.

Symptoms of Neurotrophic Keratoconjunctivitis

The symptoms of NKC can vary from person to person. Some common symptoms include:

  1. Eye dryness
  2. Eye redness
  3. Blurred vision
  4. Light sensitivity
  5. Eye pain or discomfort
  6. Corneal ulcers

The severity of the symptoms depends on the extent of nerve damage. In some cases, the symptoms may be mild, while in others, they can be severe and affect the quality of life.

Treatment for Neurotrophic Keratoconjunctivitis

Treatment for NKC aims to manage the symptoms and promote healing of the cornea. Some common treatments include:

  1. Artificial tears
  2. Prescription eye drops or ointments to reduce inflammation and promote healing
  3. Bandage contact lenses to protect the cornea and promote healing
  4. Autologous serum eye drops, which are made from a person's own blood and contain growth factors that promote healing
  5. Amniotic membrane transplantation, which involves placing a membrane on the surface of the eye to promote healing

In severe cases, surgery may be required to correct corneal damage or promote healing.


Neurotrophic keratoconjunctivitis is a rare eye condition that can cause discomfort and affect vision. If you experience any symptoms of NKC, it's essential to see an eye doctor for a proper diagnosis and treatment. With the right treatment, it's possible to manage the condition and promote healing of the cornea.