Calcific Band Keratopathy describes the accumulation of calcium deposits within the cornea. When severe enough, the calcium deposits can interfere with the focusing of light by the eye or cause the eye to become painful.
The condition is more common in those with other eye diseases including dry eyes or those with long-standing inflammation, but can also occur in those with excessive amount of calcium in their bodies due to conditions including excessive vitamin D intake, milk-alkali syndrome, renal failure, Sarcoidosis, hyperparathyroidism and even certain malignancies.
The calcium can only be effectively removed by microsurgical procedure in which the surface epithelial skin and underlying calcium deposits are removed with the assistance of a food preservative called EDTA (bi-sodium ethylenediamintetra-acetate) which acts as a chelating agent which dissolves the calcium from the cornea. A temporary bandage contact lens is sometimes placed to assist in the healing. This procedure can restore sight, but it may take up to a couple of months to reach the maximum visual recovery. Some patients are more prone to recurrences over subsequent years which can require the procedure to be repeated.
Possible side effects can include recurrence of the calcium band, infection, corneal edema, corneal scarring and vision loss. Fortunately, the incidence of such complications is very low.
Mark A. Pavilack, M.D.
Corneal, Implant and Refractive Surgery Specialist