University of Iowa Health Care

Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences

Limbal stem cell deficiency

Category: Cornea / External Eye Disease
Photographer: Douglas Critser
Contributor: Austin Fox, MD

August 4, 2017


Limbal stem cell deficiency (LSCD) occurs when there is sufficient disturbance or destruction of the limbal stem cells of the corneal epithelium, resulting in disruption of the normal physiologic regenerative process and repopulation of corneal epithelium. Subsequently, LSCD may result in epithelial irregularities including erosions, ulcerations, neovascularization, and potentially conjunctivalization of the corneal surface in advanced cases. Classically, a "whorled" appearance of the corneal surface may be seen on exam, resulting from the centripetal extension of epithelium from the limbus as seen here extending from the superior limbus.



  1. Schwartz GS, LoVerde L, Gomes J, Holland EJ. Cornea, 4th edition. 2017; Chapter 157: Classification and Staging of Ocular Surface Disease, p. 1668-1680.

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last updated: 08/07/2017
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