Medical Definition of Epithelial basement corneal dystrophy

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Corneal anterior basement membrane dystrophy: A disorder in which the cornea (the normally clear front window of the eye) shows grayish fingerprint lines, geographic map-like lines, and dots (or microcysts) on examination with a slit-lamp that focuses a high intensity light beam as a slit while the examiner looks at the front of the eye through a magnifying scope.

The disorder is usually silent and without symptoms. However, about one patient in ten has recurrent erosion of the cornea that usually begins after the age 30.

Conversely, half of patients with recurrent corneal erosions of idiopathic (unknown) origin have this disorder.

Under the microscope, a structure called the epithelial basement membrane is abnormal. Hence, the name. The disorder was first described by Cogan and colleagues in 1964 and so is also known as Cogan corneal dystrophy as well as map-dot-fingerprint type corneal dystrophy and microcystic corneal dystrophy.

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Reviewed on 12/27/2018

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