Vision Unveiled

Unlocking the Mystery of Symblepharon: A Rare Eye Condition Explained

Symblepharon: Understanding a Rare Eye ConditionHave you ever heard of symblepharon? This rare eye condition may not be well-known, but it is important to understand its causes, signs and symptoms, complications, treatment options, and when to seek medical attention.

In this article, we will delve into the world of symblepharon, providing you with the knowledge you need to be aware of this condition. We will also discuss symblephara in cats and how it differs from the human condition.

Let’s get started!

1. Symblepharon:

1.1 Definition and Causes:

Symblepharon refers to the adhesion, or sticking together, of the conjunctiva, a thin transparent membrane that covers the white part of the eye and lines the inner surface of the eyelids.

This condition can occur as a result of various factors, such as inflammatory diseases, conjunctival infections, or trauma. Inflammatory diseases like Stevens-Johnson syndrome and ocular cicatricial pemphigoid can lead to the development of symblepharon.

Additionally, severe conjunctival infections or eye traumas can also result in the formation of adhesions. 1.2 Signs and Symptoms:

Signs of symblepharon include the adhesion of the conjunctiva, limiting the eye’s normal movement.

This restriction can lead to ocular motility problems and cause discomfort. Other symptoms may include dry eye, a burning sensation, light sensitivity, vision problems, diplopia (double vision), entropion (inward turning of the eyelids), and lagophthalmos (inability to close the eyelids completely).

1.3 Complications:

Symblepharon can lead to several complications if left untreated. The adhesions can affect eyelid function and restrict eye movement, resulting in limited vision.

Moreover, the formation of adhesions may lead to the development of dry eye syndrome, where the eyes fail to produce sufficient tears, causing discomfort and potential damage to the cornea. 1.4 Treatment and Prevention:

Treatment for symblepharon depends on its underlying cause and severity.

If the condition is caused by autoimmune diseases, medications such as immunosuppressants or corticosteroids may be prescribed to reduce inflammation. Eye drops can be used to improve tear production and reduce dryness.

In severe cases, surgery may be necessary. Procedures such as tissue grafting, limbal stem cell transplantation, and oculoplastic surgery can help to release the adhesions and improve eye movement.

Amniotic membrane application is another effective treatment option that promotes healing and reduces scarring. Prevention of symblepharon involves taking precautions to avoid trauma or conjunctival infections.

If you have an autoimmune disease or are prone to eye infections, it is crucial to follow your doctor’s advice and take appropriate measures to minimize the risk. 1.5 When to See a Doctor:

If you experience symptoms such as redness, severe pain, discharge, or notice any abnormalities in your eye’s appearance, it is essential to seek medical attention.

Prompt diagnosis and treatment can prevent complications and ensure the best possible outcome. 2.

Symblephara in Cats:

2.1 Definition and Causes:

Symblephara can also occur in our feline friends. In cats, symblephara refers to the adhesion of the conjunctiva and cornea, as well as the third eyelid.

The primary cause of this condition in cats is a herpesvirus infection, which can lead to inflammation, scarring, and the formation of adhesions. 2.2 Symblephara in Cats – Signs and Symptoms:

Symptoms of symblephara in cats are similar to those in humans, with adhesions affecting the normal movement of the conjunctiva, cornea, and third eyelid.

This can result in ocular motility problems and discomfort.


Symblepharon is a rare eye condition that can have significant impacts on vision and overall eye health. By understanding the causes, signs and symptoms, complications, treatment options, and when to seek medical attention, you can be better prepared to recognize and address this condition if it arises.

Remember, early detection and treatment are key to preserving visual function and preventing further complications. 3.

Causes of Symblepharon:

Symblepharon can occur as a result of various causes, including trauma, infectious factors, and inflammatory conditions. Understanding the underlying causes is crucial in managing and treating this rare eye condition effectively.

3.1 Traumatic Causes:

One of the leading causes of symblepharon is trauma to the eye and surrounding tissues. Trauma can come in many forms, such as chemical burns, thermal burns, or even fireworks burns.

Chemical burns, often caused by exposure to irritants or corrosive substances, can damage the conjunctiva and lead to the formation of adhesions. Thermal burns, caused by heat sources like fire or hot liquids, can also result in symblepharon if the eye tissues are affected.

Fireworks burns are another traumatic cause of symblepharon. Fireworks contain various chemicals and explosive agents that can cause severe injuries to the eyes when not handled with caution.

The intense heat and debris from fireworks explosions can lead to adhesions between the conjunctiva and the surrounding tissues, resulting in symblepharon. 3.2 Infectious Causes:

Infections can also contribute to the development of symblepharon.

Conjunctival infections, such as conjunctivitis, can inflame the conjunctiva and, in severe cases, lead to the formation of adhesions. Different types of conjunctivitis can contribute to symblepharon, including chlamydial conjunctivitis, trachoma, epidemic keratoconjunctivitis, vernal keratoconjunctivitis, atopic keratoconjunctivitis, and bacterial conjunctivitis.

Chlamydial conjunctivitis is caused by the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis and can result in chronic inflammation of the conjunctiva. If left untreated, it can lead to symblepharon.

Trachoma, another bacterial infection caused by Chlamydia trachomatis, is a significant cause of blindness worldwide. It can cause scarring of the conjunctiva, leading to symblepharon and other complications.

Viral infections, such as herpes zoster, can also contribute to the development of symblepharon. Herpes zoster, commonly known as shingles, is caused by the varicella-zoster virus that lies dormant in the nerves.

If the virus attacks the eye, it can result in inflammation and scarring of the conjunctiva, potentially leading to symblepharon. 3.3 Inflammatory Causes:

Inflammatory conditions can play a role in the development of symblepharon.

Various ocular inflammatory disorders can lead to scarring and adhesion formation. For example, Stevens-Johnson syndrome, a severe and potentially life-threatening condition, can cause widespread inflammation and blistering of the skin and mucous membranes, including the conjunctiva.

This inflammation can result in symblepharon. Toxic epidermal necrolysis, a rare and severe drug reaction, can also lead to symblepharon.

Similar to Stevens-Johnson syndrome, it causes widespread skin and mucous membrane damage, including the conjunctiva. Ocular cicatricial pemphigoid (OCP) is another inflammatory condition that can result in symblepharon.

OCP is an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system mistakenly attacks the conjunctiva and other mucous membranes. This immune response leads to chronic inflammation and scarring, ultimately resulting in adhesion formation.

Other inflammatory causes of symblepharon include mucous membrane pemphigoid, erythema multiforme, graft-versus-host disease, granulomatosis with polyangiitis, recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa, sarcoidosis, and vitamin A deficiency. These conditions can all contribute to the chronic inflammation of the conjunctiva and subsequent adhesion formation.

4. Complications of Symblepharon:

Symblepharon can lead to various complications if left untreated or poorly managed.

Understanding these potential complications is crucial in emphasizing the importance of early diagnosis and intervention. 4.1 Complications Due to Adhesion:

Adhesions in symblepharon can result in several complications.

One significant complication is the development of double vision or diplopia. The adhesion between the conjunctiva and surrounding tissues can restrict eye movement and alignment, leading to the perception of two images instead of one.

Inhibited eyelid function is another complication of symblepharon. The adhesions can restrict the normal movement of the eyelids, reducing their ability to protect and lubricate the eyes.

This can result in symptoms such as dry eye syndrome, where the eyes fail to produce enough tears to keep the eye surface moist and comfortable. Limited eye movement is a common complication of symblepharon.

The adhesions restrict the normal rotation and movement of the eyeball. This limitation can impact daily activities and reduce the field of vision, potentially affecting overall visual function.

In severe cases, symblepharon can lead to vision loss. The adhesions may result in corneal damage if they cause an irregular corneal surface or contribute to corneal scarring.

Damage to the cornea, the clear front part of the eye, can significantly impact vision and may require additional treatments, such as corneal transplants or contact lenses, to improve visual function. 4.2 Vision Loss:

Symblepharon, particularly when accompanied by corneal involvement, can cause vision loss.

The cornea plays a crucial role in focusing light onto the retina, enabling clear vision. If the cornea becomes damaged or scarred due to symblepharon, it can affect the passage of light, resulting in blurred or distorted vision.

If left untreated, this vision loss can become permanent.


Understanding the various causes and potential complications of symblepharon is essential for early recognition, diagnosis, and intervention. Trauma, infectious factors, and inflammatory conditions can all contribute to the development of symblepharon.

Prompt medical attention and appropriate treatment are crucial in managing symblepharon effectively and preventing complications that may lead to vision loss or other significant eye problems. In conclusion, symblepharon is a rare eye condition characterized by the adhesion of the conjunctiva.

Trauma, infections, and inflammatory conditions can all contribute to its development. It is crucial to recognize the causes, signs, and symptoms of symblepharon to ensure early diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

Failure to address this condition can lead to complications such as adhesion-related issues, limited eye movement, dry eye syndrome, and even vision loss. By understanding symblepharon and seeking prompt medical attention, individuals can improve their chances of preserving vision and overall eye health.

Remember, early intervention is key in managing symblepharon effectively and preventing long-term complications.

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