Ocular manifestations of xeroderma pigmentosum: Long-term follow-up highlights the role of DNA repair in protection from sun damage

Brian P. Brooks, Amy H. Thompson, Rachel J. Bishop, Janine A. Clayton, Chi Chao Chan, Ekaterini T. Tsilou, Wadih M. Zein, Deborah Tamura, Sikandar G. Khan, Takahiro Ueda, Jennifer Boyle, Kyu Seon Oh, Kyoko Imoto, Hiroki Inui, Shin Ichi Moriwaki, Steffen Emmert, Nicholas T. Iliff, Porcia Bradford, John J. Digiovanna, Kenneth H. Kraemer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


Objective: Xeroderma pigmentosum (XP) is a rare autosomal recessive disease caused by mutations in DNA repair genes. Clinical manifestations of XP include mild to extreme sensitivity to ultraviolet radiation resulting in inflammation and neoplasia in sun-exposed areas of the skin, mucous membranes, and ocular surfaces. This report describes the ocular manifestations of XP in patients systematically evaluated in the Clinical Center at the National Institutes of Health. Design: Retrospective observational case series. Participants: Eighty-seven participants, aged 1.3 to 63.4 years, referred to the National Eye Institute (NEI) for examination from 1964 to 2011. Eighty-three patients had XP, 3 patients had XP/Cockayne syndrome complex, and 1 patient had XP/trichothiodystrophy complex. Methods: Complete age- and developmental stage-appropriate ophthalmic examination. Main Outcome Measures: Visual acuity; eyelid, ocular surface, and lens pathology; tear film and tear production measures; and cytologic analysis of conjunctival surface swabs. Results: Of the 87 patients, 91% had at least 1 ocular abnormality. The most common abnormalities were conjunctivitis (51%), corneal neovascularization (44%), dry eye (38%), corneal scarring (26%), ectropion (25%), blepharitis (23%), conjunctival melanosis (20%), and cataracts (14%). Thirteen percent of patients had some degree of visual axis impingement, and 5% of patients had no light perception in 1 or both eyes. Ocular surface cancer or a history of ocular surface cancer was present in 10% of patients. Patients with an acute sunburning skin phenotype were less likely to develop conjunctival melanosis and ectropion but more likely to develop neoplastic ocular surface lesions than nonburning patients. Some patients also showed signs of limbal stem cell deficiency. Conclusions: Our longitudinal study reports the ocular status of the largest group of patients with XP systematically examined at 1 facility over an extended period of time. Structural eyelid abnormalities, neoplasms of the ocular surface and eyelids, tear film and tear production abnormalities, ocular surface disease and inflammation, and corneal abnormalities were present in this population. Burning and nonburning patients with XP exhibit different rates of important ophthalmologic findings, including neoplasia. In addition, ophthalmic characteristics can help refine diagnoses in the case of XP complex phenotypes. DNA repair plays a major role in protection of the eye from sunlight-induced damage. Financial Disclosure(s): The author(s) have no proprietary or commercial interest in any materials discussed in this article.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1324-1336
Number of pages13
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology


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