Corneal dystrophies are a group of genetic, often progressive, eye disorders in which abnormal material often accumulates in the clear (transparent) outer layer of the eye (cornea). Corneal dystrophies, affect both eyes (bilateral); may not cause symptoms (asymptomatic) in some individuals, in others they may cause significant vision impairment. The age of onset and specific symptoms vary among the different forms of corneal dystrophy. Most forms are inherited as autosomal dominant traits; a few are inherited as autosomal recessive traits.
The treatment of corneal dystrophies varies. Individuals who do not have symptoms (asymptomatic) or only have mild symptoms may not require treatment and may instead be regularly observed to detect potential progression of the disease.
Specific treatments for corneal dystrophies may include eye drops, ointments, lasers and corneal transplant. In individuals with significant associated symptoms a corneal transplant, known as a keratoplasty, may be necessary. Corneal transplants have been highly successful in treating individuals with advanced symptoms of corneal dystrophies. There is a risk however, in certain corneal dystrophies, that the lesions will eventually develop in the graft (donated) cornea.