Chronic localized conjunctival chemosis

Neil S. Kalin, Stephen E. Orlin, Allan E. Wulc, Karen F. Heffler, William C. Frayer, Michael E. Sulewski, Robert A. Mittra, H. Dwight Cavanagh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Conjunctival chemosis is a commonly encountered clinical finding stemming from the presence of excess fluid in the conjunctiva. It is typically self- limiting or reversible if the underlying condition is treated. The authors present a series of seven cases of chronic localized conjunctival chemosis. Each patient had a localized area of dependent conjunctival edema for ≥6 months. Evaluation of each patient included clinical examination, laboratory studies, and neuroimaging to attempt to elucidate the pathogenesis of the chemosis. Conjunctival biopsy was performed in six of the seven patients. In all of the patients studied, clinical examination uncovered no definitive signs of local inflammation. Laboratory evaluation was normal, and neuroimaging failed to confirm obstruction of venous or lymphatic drainage. Conjunctival biopsies showed chronic tissue inflammation or lymphangiectasia. The diagnosis of chronic localized conjunctival chemosis (CLCC) can be made if localized conjunctival edema persists for 6 months. Evaluation of biopsy specimens supports the theory that CLCC may result from scarring and structural alteration of conjunctival lymphatics, which appears to irreversibly affect the distribution of fluid in the conjunctiva.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)295-300
Number of pages6
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • Conjunctival chemosis
  • Conjunctival edema
  • Lymphangiectasia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology


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