Fri, Jan 12, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Psoriasis can lead to eye damage: dermatologist

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

People with psoriasis are at an increased risk of developing eye inflammation and resultant vision damage, a dermatologist said on Wednesday.

A man in his 40s, surnamed Chen (陳), had been suffering from psoriasis for more than 10 years when he began to feel pain in his left eye and was diagnosed with uveitis, an inflammation of the uvea — the middle layer of the eye, between the retina and the white of the eye.

The patient had experienced severe psoriasis, with worsening symptoms over the winter, but he thought his eye pain was the result of working overtime frequently and staying up late, said Chang Gung Memorial Hospital dermatologist Chi Ching-chi (紀景琪), who treated Chen.

Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory skin disorder caused by genetic and environmental factors, Chi said, adding that the prevalence of the disease in Taiwan is about 2.3 per 1,000 people, which indicates that there could be more than 50,000 people with psoriasis in the nation.

The low temperatures and less sunshine during winter, sleeping late, mental stress, obesity and smoking and drinking habits can cause symptoms to worsen, Chi said.

Studies have suggested that psoriasis is not only a skin condition, but that severe psoriasis with large-scale skin inflammation can affect vital organs, including increased risk of kidney disease, myocardial infarction or heart attack, as well as a cerebral vascular accident or stroke, Chi said.

A research team led by Chi analyzed the National Health Insurance data of tens of thousands of people with and without psoriasis and discovered that people with severe psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis have 2.4 times the risk of developing uveitis. Those without psoriatic arthritis also have 1.42 times the risk, compared with people without psoriasis.

The hospital’s dermatology department has established a special psoriasis treatment and a research team to provide better clinical care for patients and to conduct more research on the disease.

People with psoriasis are encouraged to maintain a balanced lifestyle, get sufficient sleep, relax, exercise regularly, avoid smoking and drinking, and maintain a healthy body weight, Chi said, adding that they should also seek medical attention as soon as they experience any eye discomfort.

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