Spontaneous regression of epithelial downgrowth from clear corneal phacoemulsification wound

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Am J Ophthalmol Case Rep


Purpose: To report a case of spontaneous regression of optical coherence tomography (OCT) and confocal microscopy-supported epithelial downgrowth associated with clear corneal phacoemulsification wound.

Observations: A 66-year-old Caucasian male presented two years after phacoemulsification in the left eye with an enlarging cornea endothelial lesion in that eye. His early post-operative course had been complicated by corneal edema and iris transillumination defects. The patient presented to our clinic with a large geographic sheet of epithelial downgrowth and iris synechiae to the temporal clear corneal wound. His vision was correctable to 20/25 in his left eye. Anterior segment OCT showed a hyperreflective layer on the posterior cornea with an abrupt transition that corresponded to the clinical transition zone of the epithelial downgrowth. Confocal microscopy showed polygonal cells with hyperreflective nuclei suggestive of epithelial cells in the area of the lesion with a transition to a normal endothelial cell mosaic. Given the lack of glaucoma or inflammation and the relatively good vision, the plan was made to closely monitor for progression with the anticipation that he may require aggressive surgery. Over course of subsequent follow-up visits at three, seven and ten months; the endothelial lesion receded significantly. Confocal imaging in the area of the previously affected cornea showed essentially normal morphology with anan endothelial cell count of 1664 cells/mm2.

Conclusions and importance: Epithelial downgrowth may spontaneously regress. Though the mechanism is yet understood, contact inhibition of movement may play a role. Despite this finding, epithelial downgrowth is typically a devastating process requiring aggressive treatment.

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