July 2018
Volume 59, Issue 9
Open Access
ARVO Annual Meeting Abstract  |   July 2018
Acute sunburn of human eye – microstructural observations by in vivo confocal microscopy
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Christina N Grupcheva
    Ophthalmology and visual science, Medical Univerity, Varna, Bulgaria
  • Dimitar Grupchev
    Ophthalmology and visual science, Medical Univerity, Varna, Bulgaria
  • Mladena N Radeva
    Ophthalmology and visual science, Medical Univerity, Varna, Bulgaria
  • Footnotes
    Commercial Relationships   Christina Grupcheva, None; Dimitar Grupchev, None; Mladena Radeva, None
  • Footnotes
    Support  This study was supported by a Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc. Investigator-Initiated Study grant.
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science July 2018, Vol.59, 906. doi:
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    • Get Citation

      Christina N Grupcheva, Dimitar Grupchev, Mladena N Radeva; Acute sunburn of human eye – microstructural observations by in vivo confocal microscopy
      . Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2018;59(9):906.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Purpose : To evaluate and follow UV damage of the ocular surface of subjects with acute skin sun burn at microstructural level utilising in vivo confocal microscopy.

Methods : Fifty eyes of 25 subjects were prospectively recruited over two summer periods at 430 latitude at the Black Sea via social media advertising. The subjects had grade 1, or worse skin burn of the face, neck and/or head. Subject were examined clinically, including grading of the conjunctival hyperaemia. Microstructural evaluation was based on examination with laser scanning in vivo confocal microscopy (HRT II Rostock corneal module) on 5 corneal, 4 conjunctival and 4 lid areas.

Results : The recruited subjects, 9 male and 14 female, were aged 25 ±4 years. At baseline clinical examination, conjunctival hyperaemia grade 2-3 was encountered in 42 eyes. Microstructural analysis of the cornea at same time point demonstrated decreased basal epithelial density to 5632 ± 158 cells/mm2 and unusual cysts measured 12-167 µm in diameter. In the conjunctiva, characteristic cystic lesions with dark centres and bright borders were encountered in all eyes. Those were bigger and denser superiorly. Similar lesions were discovered in the upper lid conjunctiva. Described pathology decreased significantly in two weeks when morphological characteristics of the anterior ocular surface returned to the normal microstructure of age matched subjects.

Conclusions : Acute sun burn of the head and face is associated with microstructural damage of the anterior ocular surface. Although the short term microstructural alteration appears to be reversible, the long term effect might lead to chronic ocular surface disease. Development of methods for anterior ocular surface protection together with public awareness of sun related damage would have significant health benefits in the future.

This is an abstract that was submitted for the 2018 ARVO Annual Meeting, held in Honolulu, Hawaii, April 29 - May 3, 2018.


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