Reis-Bucklers corneal dystrophy is an inherited abnormality of the cornea which results in breakdown of the one of the front layers of the cornea - Bowman's layer. Over time this leads to hazy deposits and cloudiness of the cornea. Patients with R-B dystrophy can also experience erosions of the corneal epithelium resulting in episodes of discomfort and shooting pain. As the amount of clouding in the cornea increases there can be loss of vision which in some cases is severe. R-B is cause by an abnormality of the transforming growth factor beta 1 (TGF beta 1) gene and is dominantly inherited - meaning that all members of a family can have the condition.
One method of treating corneal dystrophys that cause superficial corneal deposits is to perform PTK (phototherapeutic keratectomy) laser eye surgery. In this treatment the laser creates a clear window in the cornea by removing a very small amount of tissue from the central cornea and is very effective. Patients may have recurrence of deposits years later and PTK can usually be repeated several times as required. PTK is not helpful in types of dystrophy that cause deeper deposits such as lattice dystrophy, macular dystrophy or Fuchs' dystrophy.
PTK can also be used in other corneal dystrophys such as granular corneal dystrophy.