Recurrent Corneal Erosion

Structure of the cornea diagram

Recurrent corneal erosion is the recurrent breakdown of the outermost layer (epithelium) of the cornea. In recurrent corneal erosions, the outermost layer of the cornea fails to glue in tightly to its underlying membrane (basement membrane), making it possible for the epithelium to break off too easily with little effort.


There are 3 major causes of recurrent corneal erosion, which are:

Signs and Symptoms

In recurrent corneal erosion, the patient can remember having had a corneal abrasion relatively recently (but sometimes can be as long as months to years earlier) and then, most often when first opening the eye in the morning, feels a sudden burst of pain accompanied by symptoms of a corneal abrasion, which are:

Self-Care Guidelines

The self-care for recurrent corneal erosion is:

What is very important in self-care is learning how to open your eyes when awakening. The friction of the lid against the sick cornea is enough to rip off a piece of the corneal epithelium, as noted above. So, if you suspect you have recurrent corneal erosion, keep the eye closed firmly and only open the good eye. Look around a little to lubricate the sick eye, so that when you do open it, there is hopefully no friction and, thus, no repeat of the abrasion.

When to Seek Medical Care

You should seek medical advice for recurrent corneal erosions when:

Treatments Your Physician May Prescribe

Treatment can take up to several weeks or months.