What is neurotrophic keratopathy?
Neurotrophic keratopathy, also known as neurotrophic keratitis, is a rare eye condition that affects the cornea. It makes the cornea less sensitive, resulting in the breakdown of the outermost layer.
What are the symptoms of neurotrophic keratopathy?
The early stages of this condition do not bring symptoms, but they do reduce the sensitivity of the cornea. Without this sensitivity, the eye does not produce tears or blink as often to protect it. This leads to red and dry eyes, blurred vision, and decreased acuity of vision. Light sensitivity is also common.
Because the cornea protects itself less, it is susceptible to complications. This includes corneal erosions, eye infections, irregular astigmatism, scarring, damage to the inner layers of the cornea, perforated cornea, and vision loss.
What causes neurotrophic keratopathy?
Various other conditions cause neurotrophic keratopathy, with two common ones being the herpes simplex virus 1 and the herpes zoster virus. Damage to the trigeminal nerve can also be the culprit. Eye surgery may also cause this condition, as can long term contact lenses, the overuse of medications, and various other conditions.
How is neurotrophic keratopathy diagnosed?
Doctors will look for the characteristic symptoms, perform a clinical evaluation, and use specialized tests. These include a measure of corneal sensitivity, IVCM, and lacrimal function test. The cornea will also be examined under a microscope.
What are the treatments for neurotrophic keratopathy?
Treatment is aimed at the symptoms. There is an FDA approved eye drop called cenegermin, and surgery may be helpful in later stages of the condition.