Limbal Stem Cell Deficiency

About Limbal Stem Cell Deficiency

Limbal stem cell deficiency is a condition that results from a failure in limbal stem cells to properly repair and regenerate the surface of the cornea. This can lead to thinning, painful ulceration, opacity in the cornea, and eventually possible blindness.


  • Trauma
  • Toxins
  • Ocular Surgery
  • Radiation
  • Chemical and Thermal Burns
  • Chemotherapy


While it is often difficult to diagnose in its early stages, it is important to begin care for the condition as soon as possible while it is most treatable. Some symptoms include eye irritation, tearing, pain, sensitivity to light, and intolerance to contact lenses.


Reduced vision is also a symptom that can occur in the absence of functioning stem cells to renew the cornea normally, the cells of the cornea are replaced with less transparent conjunctival tissue, creating a hazy surface on the eye. Other symptoms include:

  • Uncontrollable Eyelid Movement or Twitch (Blepharospasm)
  • Chronic Eye Irritation
  • Growths On the Eye
  • Tumors
  • Pterygium
  • Glaucoma

Treatments We Offer

Treatments for limbal stem cell deficiency can include corneal transplant and limbal graft, which promote the regrowth of corneal tissue.  Bandages, scleral lenses, autologous serum eye drops, stem cell therapies can help as well. Lubricating drops and ointments, warm compresses to the eye, and procedures to reduce tear reabsorption (punctal occlusion) are also treatment options. For inflammation reduction, treatments can also include steroids, and the removal of uncomfortable contact lenses.

Why Choose Columbia?

At Columbia Ophthalmology rare conditions are our specialty. We also use a multidisciplinary approach to certain treatments, and we have those resources at our disposal. Our team approach to providing eye care at such a high level is one of the reasons Columbia ophthalmologists are so in demand. We take the time to make sure you are treated correctly and compassionately.