What is limbal stem cell deficiency?
Limbal stem cell deficiency syndrome means there is no longer a source for corneal epithelial cells. This is replaced by conjunctival epithelial that normally surrounds the cornea and, in these cases, it expands and “invades the territory”, taking advantage of the limbus no longer acting as a barrier to prevent the growth of the conjunctiva.
What causes it?
There are a number of congenital or acquired factors that can seriously damage the limbus, and hence the stem cell population, causing a condition known as limbal stem cell deficiency syndrome.
How can it be prevented?
It cannot be prevented, however it can be treated in time by regular check-ups to detect it and hence apply the most suitable treatment for each case.
The expansion of the conjunctival epithelium over the cornea causes vision loss as well as epithelial adhesion problems, corneal erosion and ulcers, chronic inflammation or abnormal growth of blood vessels.
When the limbal stem cell deficiency has not yet fully developed, it can be treated with eye drops. However, in severe cases, limbal stem cell transplantation is the best option.