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Vision Information: Stevens-Johnson Syndrome

Vision Information: Stevens-Johnson Syndrome is sometimes referred to as erythema multiforme.

Stevens-Johnson Syndrome is actually a disorder of the skin that also can affect the eyes. It is sometimes referred to as erythema multiforme major and manifests as painful, blistered lesions on the skin and mucous membranes of the mouth, throat, genital region and eyelids. The eye problems resulting from SJS can be serious, such as conjunctivitis, iritis, corneal blisters and erosions, and corneal holes. The eye complications from the disease can, in some cases, be disabling and result in severe vision loss.

There is still uncertainty about the cause of Stevens-Johnson Syndrome. There is a theory that the cause may be an adverse allergic drug reaction and it is thought that almost any drug - but in particular sulfa drugs - can cause SJS. The allergic reaction to the drug may not occur until 7-14 days after first using it. Viral infections, such as herpes or mumps, and their accompanying fever, sore throat and lethargy, can precede Stevens-Johnson syndrome.

Typical treatment for the eye can include artificial tears, antibiotics, or corticosteroids. Usually about 33 percent of patients diagnosed with SJS have recurrences of the disease.

Statistics reveal that SJS occurs twice as often in men as women, and most cases appear in children and young adults under the age of 30. But it can develop in people at any age.

If any of the symptoms appear - even in their mildest form - please consult and ophthalmologist immediately.

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