Keratopathy Therapeutic Intervention

Current Treatment Interventions

Keratopathy in eyes affected by diabetes is treated the same as in eyes not affected by diabetes with artificial tears and antibiotics. Additionally, bandage contact lens, and tarsorrhaphy (a surgical procedure to keep the eyelids from opening wide in order to protect the cornea) can be used for re-epithelialization (allowing the surface cell layer of the cornea to grow back and heal).

In selected cases new treatments will be used such as, topical administration of vasodilators (agents which allow the blood vessels to get bigger increasing blood flow and subsequently oxygen and nutrients to the cornea), aldose reductase inhibitors, and some growth hormones to accelerate re-epithelialization. These treatments are associated with a high corneal epithelial wound healing rate.

Innovations in Treatment Interventions

  • Recently, new topical drugs such as substance P and IGF-1 were tested on animals with diabetes to accelerate re-epithelialisation. Successful outcomes were obtained with these new drugs. 
  • Corneal epithelial barrier function was shown to improve with topical aldose reductase inhibitors. 
  • Amino-guanidine has beneficial effects in corneal epithelial defects, by improving attachment between the epithelial cells and basement membrane of the cornea. 
  • In additional to these new drugs, amniotic membrane transplantation is used to treat persistent corneal epithelial defects. Amniotic membrane (AM) can function in the eye as a basement membrane substitute or as a temporary graft. It has anti-inflammatory and anti-scarring effects and contains growth factors that promote epithelial (layer of cells on surface of cornea) wound healing on the surface of the eye.