Vitiligo patients face dry eye syndrome along with other eye health risks. Significant differences were seen in vitiligo patients who underwent the Schirmer test, which determines if the eye produces enough tears for proper moisture.
The study looked at 61 vitiligo patients and 57 control individuals. The patients and controls underwent several eye tests, including the Schirmer test.
The researchers found that the average Schirmer score for vitiligo patients was 6.74 ± 9.11 mm and 17.64 ± 9.41 mm for the right and left eye, respectively, compared with 21.96 ± 12.51 mm and 23.42 ± 12.51 mm for the right and left eye, respectively, in the control group individuals.
Additionally, 36 vitiligo patients exhibited lenticular findings and 29 showed findings for fundus.
The authors concluded, “Patients with vitiligo may have more lenticular and retinal findings than normal. They can be more prone to dry eye syndrome as well.”
Vitiligo patients and the prevalence of ocular findings
An alternative study found a high prevalence of ocular findings among vitiligo patients. The researchers of the study looked at 92 vitiligo patients who were examined for ocular abnormalities. An ophthalmologist examined the patients to detect depigmentation of the eyelids, poliosis, and signs of uveitis, as well as signs of retinal atrophy or hypopigmentation by a direct ophthalmoscope.
The researchers found that lesions were common on the upper limbs and the least amount was found on the genitals. Ocular problems were found in 19 percent of patients. Generally, patients with ocular findings had vitiligo for much longer. Ocular findings were also more common in patients with a family history of vitiligo.
Patients with a family history of vitiligo or with autoimmune diseases should be screened early on for ocular abnormalities.
Vitiligo treatment options
Vitiligo cannot be cured, but there are many treatment options available to decrease visibility of skin discoloration. Treatment options for vitiligo include:
- Phototherapy with UVB light
- Phototherapy with UVA light
- Skin camouflage – cosmetic cover-up creams
- Topical corticosteroids
- Calcipotriene – vitamin D in topical cream formula
- Drugs affecting the immune system
- Psoralen – in combination with UVB and UVA light
- Skin grafts
Speak with your doctor about which treatment is best for you and your condition.