Aniridic keratopathy is vision-threatening condition in patients with aniridia. The keratopathy occurs due to limbal stem cell deficiency. When conventional treatments fail, surgical treatments such as corneal limbal transplantation or cultivated oral mucosal epithelium transplantation are the alternatives. Here, we report our experience with the management and monitoring of the progress of a case with aniridic keratopathy treated with a scleral lens.
We describe the case of a 30-year-old woman with aniridic keratopathy in both eyes. She visited our outpatient clinic for treatment of visual disturbances in her left eye, which showed a 360° invasion of the conjunctiva. Despite conventional treatment with artificial tears and autologous serum eye drops, the left eye started to suffer from recurrent corneal erosions at 19 months after the initial visit. At 50 months after the initial visit, it presented with persistent epithelial defects and decrease in vision because of the invasion of the vascularized conjunctiva with subepithelial fibrosis. Upon concluding that conventional treatment was ineffective, we tried using a scleral lens (Prosthetic Replacement of the Ocular Surface Ecosystem; PROSE). After the scleral lens treatment, the epithelial defect quickly healed, and visual acuity improved. Six years after the initial visit, the patient’s right eye also started to show epithelial irregularities, which were also treated with a scleral lens. The visual acuity in the right eye too recovered, and corneal transparency was maintained until 3 years after the scleral lens treatment.
The current case showed that long-term scleral lens treatment is a promising option to maintain a healthy ocular surface and visual function in eyes with aniridia caused by limbal stem cell deficiency. Early treatment with a scleral lens may be beneficial in preventing stromal scar formation in the cornea affected by aniridic keratopathy.