Corneal Dellen after cataract surgery (Video)

This cornea has a small dellen (thinning of the corneal stroma) that occured after cataract surgery. The cornea thins when it is dehydrated, and in this case, a localized area of conjunctival edema next to the limbus interfered with the normal tear-blink mechanism. Fortunately, this thinning quickly resolved with aggresive lubrication.

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Dellen of cornea
This picture shows an area of thinning of the cornea right at the limbus. This local event occurs secondary to drying from improper tear exposure. An area of swollen conjunctiva is keeping the upper eyelid from lubricating the cornea in this area.
Corneal dellen
This photo shows an area of thinning of the cornea called a dellen. These tend to form at the limbus and occur secondary to extreme dryness. In this case, the eye is suffuring from a fair amount of conjunctival edema (chemosis). This swelling is keeping the eyelids from rubbing over the cornea properly … such that the cornea dried out at the 3-oclock position.
Dellen thin cornea
This slit-lamp photograph shows a localized area of corneal thinning. This thinning, called a “Dellen,” occurs entirely from localized dehydration. In this case, the culprit is an area of conjunctival swelling next to the limbus.

Dr. Timothy Root is a practicing ophthalmologist and cataract surgeon in Daytona Beach, Florida. His books, video lectures, and training resources can be found at:


  1. Hello, dr
    I have a question, what is the common cause of conjuctival edema? Does aging is a factor? How can I grade the severity through slit lamp examination?


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