Your browser does not support javascript:   Search for gard hereSearch for news-and-events here.

Diseases

Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

Print friendly version

Superior limbic keratoconjunctivitis


Other Names for this Disease

  • SLK
See Disclaimer regarding information on this site. Some links on this page may take you to organizations outside of the National Institutes of Health.

Overview

What is superior limbic keratoconjunctivitis?

What are the symptoms of superior limbic keratoconjunctivitis (SLK)?

What causes superior limbic keratoconjunctivitis (SLK)?

How might superior limbic keratoconjunctivitis (SLK) be treated?

What is the long-term outlook for patients with superior limbic keratoconjunctivitis (SLK)?

What is superior limbic keratoconjunctivitis?

Superior limbic keratoconjunctivitis (SLK) is a chronic and recurrent eye disease which affects the superior bulbar conjunctiva (the clear layer that covers the eyeball, over the sclera) and tarsal conjunctiva (the clear layer that lines the eyelids), as well as the superior limbic aspect of the cornea (the area above the cornea).[1][2] It is commonly found in women 20-70 years of age. The signs and symptoms include burning, redness and irritation and tend to develop slowly over a period of 1 to 10 years.[3] Vision usually remains intact. While the underlying cause of SLK remains unknown, there appears to be an association between the condition and thyroid abnormalities (usually hyperthyroidism), contact lens wear, graft versus host disease, and preservatives from ophthalmologic medications.[1][2][3]

Last updated: 7/24/2012

What are the symptoms of superior limbic keratoconjunctivitis (SLK)?

The symptoms of SLK develop slowly over 1 to 10 years and usually occur in both eyes (bilateral). Vision is rarely affected. The most common symptoms include burning, irritation and redness.[2][3] These symptoms may be more pronounced when looking up.[2] 
Last updated: 7/24/2012

What causes superior limbic keratoconjunctivitis (SLK)?

The cause of SLK is unknown. It has been theorized that this condition causes swelling of the superior bulbar conjunctiva (the clear layer that covers the eyeball, over the sclera) resulting in friction between the upper eyelid and the eyeball. Superior limbic keratoconjunctivitis has been associated with thyroid abnormalities (usually hyperthyroidism), contact lens wear, graft versus host disease, and preservatives from ophthalmologic medications.[2][3]
Last updated: 7/24/2012

How might superior limbic keratoconjunctivitis (SLK) be treated?

The most common treatment is large diameter contact lens wear. Other options include cryotherapy and surgery, including conjunctival resection of the superior limbal conjunctiva and thermal cautery of superior limbal conjunctiva, which may be curative.[3][4]

More detailed information related to the treatment of SLK can be accessed through Medscape Reference.

Last updated: 7/24/2012

What is the long-term outlook for patients with superior limbic keratoconjunctivitis (SLK)?

In general, the prognosis for SLK is excellent. While the symptoms may last for years, most cases go into remission or totally resolve over time.[2]
Last updated: 7/24/2012

References
  1. Kabat AG. Lacrimal occlusion therapy for the treatment of superior limbic keratoconjunctivitis. Optom Vis Sci. 1998; http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9798210. Accessed 7/23/2012.
  2. Oakman JH. Superior Limbic Keratoconjunctivitis. Medscape Reference. August 26, 2011; http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1194578-overview. Accessed 7/23/2012.
  3. Papaliodis GN. Superior Limbic Keratoconjunctivitis. The Ocular Immunology and Uveitis Foundation. http://www.uveitis.org/docs/dm/superior_limbal_keratoconjunctivitis.pdf. Accessed 7/23/2012.
  4. Fraunfelder FW. Liquid nitrogen cryotherapy of superior limbic keratoconjunctivitis. Am J Ophthalmol. 2009; http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18835475. Accessed 7/23/2012.


Other Names for this Disease
  • SLK
See Disclaimer regarding information on this site. Some links on this page may take you to organizations outside of the National Institutes of Health.