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Epithelial Basement Membrane Dystrophy (Map-Dot-Fingerprint Dystrophy)

What is epithelial basement membrane dystrophy (EBMD)?

This disease  affects the anterior (transparent front part) of the cornea, resulting in  decreased vision and/or recurrent corneal erosions. In EBMD, extra layers of basement membrane (or “maps”) extend abnormally into the corneal epithelium.  Maturing epithelial cells become entrapped in these extra layers and form cysts (or "dots"). Parallel or concentric lines of thickened basement membrane appear as "fingerprints."

What are the symptoms of epithelial basement membrane dystrophy (EBMD?

This disorder may cause blurred vision and, most dramatically, may interfere with adherence of the epithelial cells to the basement membrane and thus lead to painful recurrent corneal erosions. Approximately 10 percent of patients with map-dot-fingerprint dystrophy experiences recurring erosion of the cornea.

How is map-dot-fingerprint dystrophy treated?

Treatment for map-dot-fingerprint dystrophy is usually not required since the majority of patients have no symptoms and may not even be aware they have the condition. Epithelial erosions, when they occur, can be managed with topical lubricating eye drops and ointments. If those fail to relieve the pain and discomfort, then several surgical procedures may be performed. They include corneal scraping to remove the eroded areas of the cornea and allow healthy tissue to regrow, and laser surgery to remove surface irregularities on the cornea. (See RCES treatment).

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