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Band Keratopathy


Band Keratopathy

Band keratopathy is a condition involving calcium deposits on the cornea (the clear front part of your eye that bends light and provides focusing power). Band keratopathy is a condition involving calcium deposits on the cornea (the clear front part of your eye that bends light and provides focusing power). The opaque white plaque runs horizontally across the cornea and is composed of excess calcium salts that naturally occur in tears and the aqueous humor (the fluid in our eyes).

Other symptoms include:

  • a possible decrease in vision if the calcium deposit progresses across the eye
  • foreign body sensation
  • irritation associated with an irregular corneal surface
  • occasional redness

Sometimes ocular discomfort may be significant. In extreme cases when the calcium band is particularly thick some of it may flake off in the eye causing damage to the front layer of the cornea and inducing pain.

Band keratopathy can have a variety of causes both systemic and eye-related. Usually it is caused by an underlying condition that increases calcium production. Some of these are:

  • hyperparathyroidism
  • excessive vitamin D intake
  • renal failure
  • lupus

Ocular conditions that may bring about band keratopathy are chronic uveitis juvenile rheumatoid arthritis and end-stage glaucoma.

When this condition causes obstruction of vision significant irritation or a cosmetic problem current treatment options are generally successful. Under topical anesthetic an eye surgeon will scrape off the calcium deposit(s) with a blunt spatula. Afterwards an excimer laser can be used to smooth the corneal surface if it is irregular. These two combined procedures are usually quite effective in restoring normal vision. However it should be noted that treatment of the underlying condition is essential or else there will be a high incidence of recurrence as the calcium continues to accumulate.

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