A case of fingerprint corneal dystrophy with epithelial cysts has been studied histologically, using ultrathin sections for light and electron microscopy. Fingerprint lines that are ensheathed in normal basement membrane consist of a fibrillogranular protein apparently a product of the corneal epithelium. They are continuous with a subepithelial seam of similar, friable material thus accounting for the ready dehiscence and recurrent breakdown of the epithelium. Moribund cells stimulate fusion of epithelial cells to form multinucleate giant cells. These seclude degenerating cells that thus sequestered are taken by centripetal cell movement toward the tear film where they are discharged. The histologic evidence suggests that fingerprint dystrophy, the microcystic dystrophy of Cogan, and the recurrent erosion syndrome are closely related disorders.
Brodrick JD, Dark AJ, Peace GW. Fingerprint Dystrophy of the CorneaA Histologic Study. Arch Ophthalmol. 1974;92(6):483-489. doi:10.1001/archopht.1974.01010010497006