Symptoms include sensitivity to bright light, blurred vision, and intermittent feeling of a foreign object in the eye.
Doctors diagnose bullous keratopathy based on the appearance of the person's cornea.
Treatment can include eye drops to draw the excess fluid from the cornea, drugs to lower pressure in the eye, and corneal transplantation.
(See also Introduction to Corneal Disorders Introduction to Corneal Disorders The cornea is the clear layer in front of the iris and pupil. It protects the iris and lens and helps focus light on the retina. It is composed of cells, protein, and fluid. The cornea looks... read more .)
Bullous keratopathy is most common among older people. It can occur by itself, may run in families, and, occasionally, occurs after eye surgery, such as cataract removal Treatment A cataract is a clouding (opacity) of the lens of the eye that causes a progressive, painless loss of vision. Vision may be blurred, contrast may be lost, and halos may be visible around lights... read more .
The swelling leads to the formation of fluid-filled blisters on the surface of the cornea. Sensitivity when looking at bright lights and significant blurring of vision can result. The blisters can rupture, causing severe pain, often with the sensation of a foreign object trapped in the eye, and can further impair vision.
The diagnosis of bullous keratopathy is based on the typical appearance of a swollen, cloudy cornea with blisters on the surface. A slit lamp Slit-Lamp Examination A person who has eye symptoms should be checked by a doctor. However, some eye disorders cause few or no symptoms in their early stages, so the eyes should be checked regularly (every 1 to 2... read more , an instrument that enables a doctor to examine the eye under high magnification, is used to examine the cornea. During the examination, the doctor may apply eye drops that contain a yellow-green dye called fluorescein. The fluorescein temporarily stains damaged areas of the cornea, making it possible to see damaged areas that are not otherwise visible.
Bullous keratopathy is treated by an ophthalmologist (a medical doctor who specializes in the evaluation and treatment—surgical and nonsurgical—of eye disorders).
Salty eye drops (hypertonic saline) and salty ointments (hypertonic sodium chloride) are used to draw the excess fluid from the cornea.
Drugs that lower the pressure in the eye are sometimes given.
On occasion, soft contact lenses can be used for a short period of time to decrease discomfort by acting as a bandage to the cornea.
If vision is reduced or discomfort is significant and prolonged, corneal transplantation Corneal Transplantation Corneal transplantation (keratoplasty) is a common and highly successful type of transplantation. A scarred, severely painful, perforated, misshapen, or cloudy cornea (the clear layer in front... read more is often done.