Cicatrising conjunctival disorders are uncommon, and are difficult to diagnose and manage. This study was designed to assess the annual incidence and underlying diagnosis of patients with cicatrising conjunctivitis (CC) within the United Kingdom.
Clinical data of newly diagnosed cases of CC were reported via the British Ophthalmological Surveillance Unit at diagnosis and at 12 months follow-up.
A total of 50 (61%) ocular mucous membrane pemphigoid (OcMMP), 16 (20%) Stevens-Johnson syndrome/toxic epidermal necrolysis (SJS-TEN) and 16 (20%) other causes of CC, equating to an incidence of 0.8, 0.2, and 0.2 per million, respectively, were reported. Although diagnosis of SJS-TEN was usually within a median of 7 days of symptom-onset, that for OcMMP and other CC was a median 225 days for both. At diagnosis, 64/163 (39%) eyes had moderate/severe conjunctival inflammation, and 102/164 (62%) had symblepharon formation. Although 43/82 (52%) patients were commenced on immunosuppression or had this therapy modified, at follow-up there was an increase in the number of symblepharon, despite control of inflammation (P<0.001). Mortality only occurred in the SJS-TEN group (4/16 (25%)).
CC has a substantial morbidity and for non-SJS-TEN causes, diagnosis is frequently delayed. The proportion of patients given immunosuppressive therapy to prevent disease progression may be less than optimal. These data highlight the need for developing patient access to specialist-designated centres with expertise in CC.