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Eye Involvement in Inherited Epidermolysis Bullosa: Experience of the National Epidermolysis Bullosa Registry


Fine, Jo-David; Johnson, Lorraine B.; Weiner, Madeline; Stein, Amy; Cash, Sarah; DeLeoz, Joy; Devries, David T.; & Suchindran, Chirayath M. (2004). Eye Involvement in Inherited Epidermolysis Bullosa: Experience of the National Epidermolysis Bullosa Registry. American Journal of Ophthalmology, 138(2), 254-262.


PURPOSE: To determine the frequency of ocular manifestations in inherited epidermolysis bullosa (EB) within the continental United States and to define the estimated cumulative risks of developing nonscarring (blisters or erosions) and scarring corneal manifestations within each major EB subtype over time.
DESIGN: Observational (cross-sectional and longitudinal).
METHODS: Up to 16 years of longitudinal follow-up was conducted on 3,280 consecutively enrolled patients in the National EB Registry, an epidemiologic study funded by the National Institutes of Health. Data were stratified by major EB type and subtype. Frequencies of occurrence were determined for eight variables (corneal erosions or blistering; corneal scarring; symblepharons; blepharitis; ectropions; lacrimal duct obstruction; impaired vision; blindness) by contingency tables, and cumulative risks were generated by life table analysis technique.
RESULTS: The most common ocular manifestations were corneal erosions and blisters. Frequencies mirrored relative severity of skin disease, with 74.10% of all patients with recessive dystrophic EB, Hallopeau-Siemens (RDEB-HS) and 47.50% of all patients with junctional EB, Herlitz (JEB-H) experiencing at least one episode. Lower frequencies were noted for corneal scarring. Symblepharons and ectropions were most commonly seen in inversa RDEB and JEB-H, respectively. Blindness was reported in 6.47% of RDEB-HS patients. The cumulative risks of nonscarring and scarring corneal lesions in JEB-H at age 5 are 83.18% and 27.08% and at age 25 are 83.18% and 72.22%. With time, the cumulative risk of each in RDEB-HS approached that reported in JEB-H patients.
CONCLUSION: Ocular disease activity, particularly corneal, is common in some EB subtypes. Careful ophthalmologic examination should become an integral part of the management of all patients with inherited EB.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

American Journal of Ophthalmology


Fine, Jo-David
Johnson, Lorraine B.
Weiner, Madeline
Stein, Amy
Cash, Sarah
DeLeoz, Joy
Devries, David T.
Suchindran, Chirayath M.