Can Lichen Sclerosus Affect The Eyes?
No, lichen sclerosus does not affect the eyes. Lichen sclerosus is a chronic inflammatory condition that affect the genitals (vulval and penile lichen sclerosus) and anal skin. But it can affect the skin of the extra genital tissues, back, wrists, neck, breasts, armpits and shoulders as well. Oral cavity lichen sclerosus is quite rare. There have been no reported cases of lichen sclerosus affecting the eyes.
Lichen sclerosus can occur in males and females at any age. It is most common seen in prepubertal (before menses and puberty) and perimenopausal women (women closer to cease menses around the age of 50). It is commonly seen in men from the age of puberty to 60 years.
Female Lichen Sclerosus
- The prevalence of genital lichen sclerosus in prepubertal girls is about 0.1%. The prevalence of vulval lichen sclerosus in elderly women is about 3%.
- Most of these cases are asymptomatic. The common symptom is itching (pruritus) in the vulval area. Other symptoms include dyspareunia (pain during sexual intercourse), dysuria (burning sensation or pain while passing urine) and bleeding from the genital area.
Lichen sclerosus usually begins as small ivory-colored patches. These are raised up from the normal skin surface. Some have tiny yellowish horny plugs within the pale areas. Then, these patches clump together and make white color plaque, it’s seen as a layer of wrinkled tissue paper. It’s seen at the bends of the wrists, upper trunk, neck, armpits, around the breasts and the vulva. Some women might not even know its present in the vulvar if it’s asymptomatic. The white thin fragile areas surrounding the vulva and the anus in a figure of eight pattern have a crinkly surface. This fragile areas lead to easy bruising, blister formation and erosions. With time there will be scarring and the opening of the vulva narrows causing pain on intercourse.
Male Lichen Sclerosus
- Prevalence of male lichen sclerosus totally depends on how much of men has undergone circumcision as male genital lichen sclerosus is almost exclusively in men who are uncircumcised or partially circumcised. Therefore an exact prevalence rate cannot be given.
- Most patients are asymptomatic. The common symptoms are urinary obstruction painful erection. They also can have itching of the penile area, sudden onset phymosis, which is a condition when the foreskin is too tight to be pulled back over the head of the penis.
Similar lesion as described above is seen confined to the glans penis (tip of the penis) and the prepuce or foreskin remnants. The body (shaft) of the penis is usually not involved. Scrotal involvement is also rare. These lesions can cause scarring with time leading to the urinary and sexual symptoms. These lesions also can occur in the wrists, shoulders, neck, armpits and back.
There are no reported cases of lichen sclerosus presenting in the eyes. It’s seen commonly in the vulval area of a female and on the penis of a male. Other areas which lichen sclerosus can occur is the skin of the neck, shoulders, armpits, breasts, back and wrists. Oral lichen sclerosus is quite rare. Most cases are asymptomatic. Symptoms such as severe itching of the vulval or penile area, urinary and sexual dysfunction can occur in both males and females.