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Bietti’s crystalline dystrophy

BCD or Bietti’s crystalline dystrophy is a genetic condition that causes fatty acid crystals to accumulate in the retina and cornea. The retina is the light-sensitive tissue layer in the back of your eye, and the cornea is the clear layer at the eye’s front.

The first symptoms of people with this condition are usually in their teenage years or 20s, such as blurry peripheral vision (vision from the eye’s corner) and in low light, which may gradually result in vision loss.

There is no available treatment for BCD, but rehabilitation of vision can help patients maximise their vision.

BCD symptoms

The first symptom is often a vision change. You may notice that your vision isn’t as clear as it used to be. The symptoms include:

BCD can affect both eyes, but one eye often gets worst faster than the other. The symptoms may also worsen over time. Most people with BCD lose all or most of their vision. Many BCD patients see things in their central vision, which is usually blurry.

Am I at risk of having BCD?

Your risk of BCD may be higher if:

Causes of BCD

BCD is a rare genetic condition, meaning it is passed from parents to offspring. You will only experience the symptoms if your parents have the gene for BCD and it is passed to you. If only one of your parents has the gene, you will be a BCD gene carrier but will not have the symptoms.

How can my eye doctor diagnose BCD?

A comprehensive dilated eye examination will help your doctor check for BCD. This exam is painless and simple. The doctor will give you some eye drops to widen (dilate) your pupil, then check for the disease.

Your doctor may also conduct genetic testing to confirm if you have BCD. These tests check for changes in the BCD gene (CYP4Vgene2).

Treatment for BCD

No permanent treatment is currently available for treating BCD. Living with low vision or vision loss resulting from BCD is usually challenging. Daily tasks will become more difficult even with contact lenses, glasses, surgery or medicine if you have low vision. However, options are available to help, such as rehabilitation programs and low-vision devices and support.

If you experience symptoms of BCD, visit Optimal Vision today for a dilated eye examination with our experienced eye doctor. You can also visit us or call 020 7183 3725 to book an appointment for your eye exam.

Dr Amir Mani - Specialist refractive surgeon

One of the most experienced refractive surgeons in London

Dr Mani has performed more than 20,000 ophthalmic procedures, including LASIK, LASEK, PRK, Femto Cataract, RLE, Lens ICL and Phakic IOL Surgery

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