SJS Patients Can Manage Their ‘Long Term’ Eye Damage With Visual Rehabilitation

Various treatments are now available for those that have suffered from long-term eye damage after being diagnosed with Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS). Once your eyes have been damaged, the damage might be permanent. However, doctors now have ongoing management care that can help. They often refer to it as “visual rehab.”

Visual rehab can work, says Mark Mannis, M.D., professor and chair, Department of Ophthalmology & Vision Science, University of California Davis Eye Center. When he spoke about SJS conditions that are bad enough to cause scarring and vascularization of the cornea, he mentioned that stem cell grafting or keratoprosthesis are also options.

“The key is to mimic in some way the normal functions of the ocular surface,” Mannis says. “You have to ensure the lids and globes are in the appropriate anatomic relationship.”

Some patients experience extreme dry eyes as a result of SJS. Another doctor said that if she has to, she will use fake tears for the patient or prescribe Lacrisert, which helps to keep the cornea from getting too dry.

Some SJS patients will suffer from other conditions such as abnormal eyelid positioning, including “trichiasis, problems with keratinized and scarred tarsal conjunctiva that causes blink-related micro trauma to cornea,” according to another specialist. “Over time, these corneas opacify. Trying to do a corneal transplant on the patient is challenging because the tear film is abnormal, there may be damage to limbal stem cells, and trying to maintain a healthy graft is extremely difficult.”

For these problems, many doctors are now prescribing scleral lenses. The scleral lens helps to get the diseased eyelids to stay away from the cornea so as not to cause more damage.

Finally, one doctor has a last resort treatment for SJS sufferers with corneal scarring. KPro is for patients that can’t produce tears at all.

“It’s an optional last resort, where there’s nothing left for us to try, and the KPro really is the last hope for getting any kind of functional vision back,” according to the doctor.

The KPro is basically a prosthetic device that is surgically implanted to help with tear production. Research is also being done to combine KPro with stem cell grafting.

If you or a loved one is suffering from long-term eye damage as a result of SJS, contact Greg Jones today for a free consultation.

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