A symblepharon is an adhesion between the eyelid and the eyeball. It can involve just one lid or both. This adhesion of subepithelial scarring can lead to other lid complications such as aberrant lash growth and entropion.


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:

  • Ocular cicatricial pemphigoid
  • Pseudopemphigoid conditions
  • Stevens-Johnson syndrome
  • Trauma
  • Conjunctival burns
  • Atopic keratoconjunctivitis
  • Porphyria cutanea tarda
  • Rosacea
  • Epidemic keratoconjunctivitis
  • Xeroderma pigmentosum
  • Squamous papilloma of the conjunctiva



  • Ocular motility disorders
  • Diplopia
  • Entropion
  • Inadequate lids closure
  • Signs: adhesion between bulbar and palpebral conjunctiva

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.


Diagnosis of symblepharon is based on ocular examination that identifies adhesion of the conjunctiva to itself or to the cornea.

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