Symblepharon is a pathological condition where the bulbar and palpebral conjunctiva form an abnormal adhesion to one another. This condition can be acquired due to a number of inflammatory or traumatic etiologies. Immune-mediated inflammatory conditions include Stevens-Johnson Syndrome/Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis, ocular cicatricial pemphigoid, and mucous membrane pemphigoid. Traumatic causes include chemical burns, thermal burns, and mechanical trauma.
There are many causes of symblepharon, which is typically a response to trauma or inflammation. In no particular order, here are some of those causes:
May occur as a complication of various ocular diseases such as: dry eye syndrome, Stevens-Johnson syndrome, cicatricial pemphigoid, chemical injury, erythema multiforme, pemphigus bullosa or as a complication of chemical burn.
Any conjunctival infections complicated with conjunctival scaring may cause symblepharon; chlamydial conjunctivitis, vernal, atopic, bacterial conjunctivitis and epidemic keratoconjunctivitis.
The diagnosis of symblepharon involves a thorough eye examination, including a slit-lamp examination to evaluate the extent of the adhesion. The ophthalmologist may also perform a Schirmer test to evaluate tear production and a fluorescein staining test to evaluate the cornea.
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