Meesmann corneal dystrophy

What is it?

Meesmann corneal dystrophy is a rare form of corneal dystrophy. It affects the outer layer of the cornea – the clear surface on the front of the eye. It does not usually cause blindness.

  • Causes

    Meesmann corneal dystrophy is caused by genetic faults either in the gene K3 or the gene K12. These genes produce a protein called keratin, which helps make up the structure of the outer layer of the cornea (called the epithelium).

  • Symptoms

    People with Meesmann corneal dystrophy have small cysts (sacs that contain fluid) in the outer layer of the cornea. The cysts can appear in children as young as one, but symptoms don’t usually begin until the teens or early adulthood.

    Symptoms happen when the cysts rupture (burst). They include being sensitive to light, eye irritation or feeling as though there is something in the eye and having watery eyes. Some people may not be able to tolerate wearing contact lenses. People may also have blurred vision from time to time.

  • Treatments

    Meesmann corneal dystrophy does not always need treatment other than lubrication. Therapeutic contact lenses may help people with stronger symptoms.

  • Research

    Research on Meesmann- and other corneal dystrophies is aimed at understanding exactly what effect the genetic faults have and on developing gene therapies to correct them.

    Read our research projects
  • Clinical trials

    You could play an important part in eye research by being a participant in clinical research study that may benefit many people. You could even help shape clinical research by becoming more actively involved and having a say. Patients, carer, or anyone with an interest can help.

    What are clinical trials

    Clinical trials are research studies that find out if a medical strategy, treatment, or device is safe and effective for humans. They are a key research tool for improving medical knowledge and patient care. The people who carry out research are mostly the same doctors and healthcare professionals who treat people. Their aim is to find better ways of treating patients and keeping people healthy.

    Taking part

    Here are some ways to find out about research projects and clinical trials that you can get involved in.

    UK Clinical Trials Gateway

    The UK Clinical Trials Gateway run by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) provides easy to understand information about clinical research trials running in the UK, and gives to a large range of information about these trials. It is designed to enable patients and clinicians to locate and contact trials of interest. Visit their website and select the eye condition that you are interested in.

    NIHR Clinical Research Network Portfolio

    The NIHR Clinical Research Network Portfolio is a database of high-quality clinical research studies in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Within this the Ophthalmology Specialty Group supports a national portfolio of research studies in ophthalmology and the vision sciences. See their website for details.

    If you wish to join a trial it is always best to discuss this with your doctor or clinical team first.

Last updated August 2015
Approved by Mr Frank Larkin, Moorfields Eye Hospital

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