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Corneal edema: What are the treatment options?

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Corneal edema occurs once the endothelial cells cease to function in which the cornea becomes swollen. The purpose of the endothelium or inner layer of the cornea is to pump fluid out of the cornea and maintain its clearness.

The endothelial cells can be impaired in various way such as diseases of the inner cell layer, surgical trauma, eye trauma, certain forms of glaucoma, overusing contact lenses and some infections. There are various treatment measures that can be used to manage corneal edema. The suitable treatment will depend on the exact cause of the edema and the severity of the condition.

Treatment of other conditions

In case corneal edema is triggered by an underlying disease, the treatment of the condition might improve or fully resolve the edema. Certain forms of infections can cause edema and the use of corticosteroid eye drops can manage the swelling while the infection is under treatment.

Corneal edema
There are various treatment measures that can be used to manage corneal edema. The suitable treatment will depend on the exact cause of the edema and the severity of the condition.

The use of antibiotics to manage an infection is also considered which can lessen corneal edema associated with the condition. If an individual has a hazy cornea due to high eye pressure, reducing the eye pressure using glaucoma medications can greatly help.

Hypertonic medications

The hypertonic solutions have high concentration of one substance compared to the other in a solution. These can be used to draw out the moisture from the cornea to temporarily manage corneal edema.

One hypertonic solution which is available over-the-counter is Muro 128. These solutions are highly beneficial during the early phase of the disease process. When the underlying condition has already progressed, these solutions could no longer clear the cornea.

Bandage contact lens

Oftentimes, the corneal epithelium develops blisters which is a condition known as bullous keratopathy. This condition can be painful and the doctor might apply a soft bandage contact lens on the affected cornea to relieve some of the discomfort.

Since the extended-wear contact lenses can heighten the risk for an ulcer, this should be taken into consideration. In case corneal transplant surgery is being considered, a bandage contact lens should be used for an extended period.

Temporary surgical procedures

There are surgical procedures that the doctor might perform among those who have corneal edema in which corneal transplant is not an option. Various laser procedures can be utilized to improve the pain by reducing the development of blisters in bullous keratopathy. An alternative that can help improve the symptoms of an advanced case of corneal edema involves the grafting of tissue over the cornea.

Corneal transplant

Corneal transplant is considered as a therapeutic treatment for corneal edema. One type is called penetrating keratoplasty in which a region in the middle of the cornea is replaced with donor tissue.

Remember that there is a risk for rejection if this procedure is used. The individual should use eye drops for a period of time during the healing process. Some surgeons will only replace the endothelial layer of cells with donor cells. This is a relatively new procedure but effective in dealing with the edema.

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