Avellino Corneal Dystrophy And LASIK

Posted on Thursday, April 2nd, 2015 by Dr. Thomas Marvelli

After decades of poor vision, trouble with contact lenses, and paying for expensive glasses, many people are ready to have LASIK eye surgery.  But did you know that not everyone is a good candidate for LASIK? People who have Avellino Corneal Dystrophy (ACD) should not have LASIK, because the surgery can make ACD much worse.

ACD is a rare subtype of granular corneal dystrophy that creates tiny lesions on the cornea. These lesions can cause cloudy vision and/or light sensitivity. Avellino Corneal Dystrophy is a genetic mutation, meaning that it can be inherited. The name “Avellino” is a reference to this very characteristic. The first several patients diagnosed with ACD were from families that had come from the Avellino area of Italy.

Avellino Corneal Dystrophy develops slowly but surely. If we looked at an eye of someone that has ACD under a microscope, we would see small, grainy, opaque orbs clouding the cornea. Longtime sufferers with ACD will develop larger areas of opacity, which may resemble snowflakes. These larger areas form when smaller orbs merge together.

Some people with ACD may begin to experience extremely dry eyes as they approach middle age; eye drops can be used to reduce dry eye symptoms. To help with light sensitivity, people can wear sunglasses or other tinted lenses. Also, patients may experience severe corneal pain as erosions appear on the eye. Pain medication can be used for short-term relief, but these erosions must be handled quickly by an ophthalmologist.

About 1 in every 870 people has ACD, but few of them are aware that they have this condition. It is critical that a patient knows if they have ACD prior to receiving LASIK. Fortunately, this can be discovered using a simple DNA test. Dr. Thomas Marvelli  at Marvel Eye Center is the first ophthalmologist in the state of Texas to provide this test. Dr. Marvelli has many years of experience performing LASIK, along with decades of experience caring for patients’ eyes. He is Board Certified and well-liked by his patients.

To learn about how Dr. Marvelli can help you or to get tested for ACD, contact Marvel Eye Center today.

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