Connection Between Skin Disorders and Ocular Disease
C. Stephen Foster, M.D., F.A.C.S, F.A.C.R.
Most individuals do not realize the extraordinary connection between skin and eye, much less the fact that many skin diseases have concomitant ocular manifestations. These may range from the relatively trivial, nuisance consequences of acne rosacea, with its associated chronic eye lid and conjunctival inflammation, to the profoundly vision-threatening ocular consequences of ichthyosis, pemphigoid, Stevens Johnson Syndrome, and, even in some cases, allergic diseases like eczema.
Patients with inflammatory eye disease (as opposed to cataract or macula degeneration or glaucoma) would be well advised to alert their ophthalmologist to the fact that they have a skin disorder, if they have one. By being alerted to the existence of a dermatologic condition, the ophthalmologist may very well discover that the patient’s inflammatory eye problem is, in fact, closely related to the dermatologic problem, and this may well guide therapy to a more systemic approach, rather than through the simple expedient of local topical drop therapy.