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Keratoconjunctivitis sicca

Definition: WHAT: Keratoconjunctivitis sicca. Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca (KCS): an eye condition in which there is decreased tear production and inflammation of the cornea and conjunctiva. WHY: Keratoconjunctivitis sicca is found in a significant number of patients with rheumatoid arthritis. KCS has also been described in systemic lupus erythematosus, polyarteritis nodosa, and scleroderma. KCS plus xerostomia is called the sicca syndrome. The association of the sicca syndrome with rheumatoid arthritis is known as Sjogren's syndrome. HOW: Clinically, patients with KCS may present with itching, burning eyes. They may complain of a dry sensation or of a foreign body sensation of the eyes. The conjunctiva is hyperemic, and thick strands of mucus may cover the eye. With slit lamp examination there is less than 1 mm of tear width at the margins of the upper and lower lids. There is increased debris and mucus strands within the tear film, seen best after blinking. Tiny punctate opacities are seen throughout the corneal surface. The Schirmer tear test (which is most accurately performed without topical anesthesia) shows less than 5 mm of wetting of filter paper at the end of 5 minutes. Finally, rose bengal, which is a water soluble dye specific for devitalized cells and mucin, will stain the dessicated corneal and conjunctival cells a bright red color. REFS: 1) Henkind, P and Gold, DH: Ocular manifestations of rheumatic disorders. Rheumatology 4:13, 1973. 2) Havener, W: Synopsis of ophthamology. St. Louis, C.V. Mosby Company, 1979. 3) Anderson, JR; Whaley, K; Williams, J and Buchanan, WW: A statistical aid to the diagnosis of keratoconjunctivitis sicca. Quart J Med 41:175, 1972. DN19292-9.

Synonyms (terms occurring on more labels are shown first): keratoconjunctivitis sicca

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