Ocular Graft vs. Host Disease

Patients undergoing hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) for conditions like leukemias and lymphomas, can unfortunately develop graft-vs.-host disease (GVHD). GVHD may adversely involve the skin, gastrointestinal tract, liver and the musculoskeletal system. Ocular GVHD  is characterized by a T cell-mediated immune response that leads to immune cell infiltration and inflammation of ocular structures, including the lacrimal glands, eyelids, cornea and conjunctiva. Unfortunately, the ocular symptoms are often overlooked and patients may suffer without proper knowledge of the disease burden.

Symptoms of Ocular GVHD

Ocular GVHD most often presents as severe dry eye and ocular surface disease, which can have a profound impact on the quality of life. One may suffer from a variety of symptoms including:

Dry, gritty, or painful eyes

Light sensitivity, difficulty in opening the eyes in the morning

MGD and blepharitis

Cicatricial conjunctivitis

Periorbital hyperpigmentation

Help Us Help You!

Sadly, ocular GVHD is often misdiagnosed. Acute ocular GVHD is often found in the early course of HSCT and needs immediate attention. The major supportive care goals for ocular GVHD remain lubrication, control of tear evaporation, control of tear drainage, and decreasing ocular surface inflammation. With her expertise, Dr. Goyal, will work patiently with each individual to come up with a tailored treatment plan.

You’ve got questions? We’ve got answers..

What symptoms should I look for to know if I have GVHD of eye? One may suffer from symptoms resembling mild dry eye such as grittiness, foreign body sensation in the eye, redness or you may experience severe pain, redness and discharge. If left uncared for, it may leave to chronic conjunctivitis, meibomian gland disease and damage to your cornea.

When am I at greatest risk of developing ocular GVHD? GVHD can develop in both acute and chronic forms. In the acute form patient may develop severe symptoms while still in the inpatient setting. Chronic GVHD on the other hand can surface years after treatment. Hence, all patients receiving HSCT should receive regular and frequent eye exams with an expert equipped to recognize and deal with this condition.

Don’t Believe Us?
Read Reviews from Patients Just Like You!

Contact Us

Leave this field blank

Phone: 407-243-8715, Phone: 407-261-4411
FAX: 407-326-6960

10962 Moss Park Road, Suite 200
Orlando, FL 32832

Mon-Fri: 8:00am-5:00pm
Saturday: 8:00am-2:00pm (Appointment Only)
Sunday: Closed