Recurrent Erosion Syndrome

What is Recurrent Erosion Syndrome?

Recurrent Erosion Syndrome (RES) is a spontaneous breakdown of the corneal epithelium (the outermost layer of the cornea). This occurs because the outer layer is weakly attached to the underlying membrane. The most common cause of Recurrent Erosion Syndrome is an initial minor corneal injury or abrasion, such as that caused by a fingernail. Other disease processes that can elicit Recurrent Erosion Syndrome include dystrophies, infections, diabetes, and dry eyes.

Signs & Symptoms

Recurrent Erosion Syndrome is typically characterized by an abrupt onset of ocular discomfort including foreign body sensation, sharp stabbing pain, excessive tearing, redness, light sensitivity, and/or blurred vision. These symptoms usually occur during sleep or upon awakening. The episodes usually heal within one or two days but episodes tend to recur at irregular intervals from several days to weeks or months later.


Treatment varies depending on the severity of the condition. It can include over-the-counter eye drops, a long-term bandage contact lens to protect the surface of the eye from being damaged further, or a surgical procedure to scrape the epithelium (outermost layer of the cornea) away allowing new, healthy epithelium to replace the damaged portion.