Stevens-Johnson Syndrome or SJS is a rare but serious disorder in which the skin and mucous membranes react to a medication or infection. The most common cause is an adverse allergic drug reaction. Sulfa drugs have often been implicated in SJS.
In this post, we’ll take a look at the symptoms and treatment of Stevens-Johnson Syndrome and learn how it adversely affects the eyes.
Symptoms of Stevens-Johnson Syndrome
Often, Stevens-Johnson Syndrome begins with flu-like symptoms. Other symptoms of SJS include:
- sore throat
- facial and tongue swelling
- skin pain
- blisters on mucous membranes
- shedding of skin
- burning eyes
Stevens-Johnson Syndrome and the Eyes
Ocular problems sometimes involve the conjunctiva or surface of the eye. In mild cases, this may cause irritation and dry eyes. In more severe cases, there may be conjunctivitis (inflammation) or scarring of the conjunctiva.
SJS can also cause the following ocular complications:
- inflammation inside the eye (iritis)
- corneal blisters
Unfortunately, these conditions can all lead to permanent vision loss.
Treating Stevens-Johnson Syndrome
There are no standard treatments for SJS. Care is mainly supportive, which means that the symptoms of the disorder are treated as they develop.
Stevens-Johnson syndrome can be life threatening. That’s why it’s imperative to seek medical attention as soon as signs of SJS appear. SJS requires hospitalization, often in an intensive care unit or a burn unit.
If the underlying cause of SJS can be eliminated and the skin reaction is stopped, it’s possible for new skin to grow over the affected area within days. In the most severe cases, full recovery can take several months.