Topical retinoic acid in dysplastic and metaplastic keratinization of corneoconjunctival epithelium

Graefes Arch Clin Exp Ophthalmol. 1988;226(1):22-6. doi: 10.1007/BF02172711.


We report four cases of corneoconjunctival keratinization that were successfully treated with topical retinoic acid ointment. In two cases keratinization was due to squamous metaplasia and in two others it was secondary to intraepithelial corneoconjunctival neoplasia. Treatment reversed severe keratinization in a case of drug-induced pseudopemphigoid and stabilized the disease in one of the two affected eyes without additional treatment. In a case of ocular cicatricial pemphigoid, retinoic acid was useful as an adjuvant therapy to immunosuppression, by reversing keratinization of the conjunctiva. In two cases of corneoconjunctival neoplasia, lesions regressed markedly. Long-term treatment was well tolerated in three patients. Our findings suggest that retinoic acid ointment is effective in treating severe squamous metaplasia in cicatrizing diseases of the conjunctiva. Our findings indicate further that retinoic acid seems to inhibit growth of corneoconjunctival neoplasias and thus might be useful complementary therapy in this situation.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Topical
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Conjunctiva / metabolism*
  • Conjunctival Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Conjunctival Diseases / pathology
  • Conjunctival Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Conjunctivitis / drug therapy
  • Conjunctivitis / pathology
  • Cornea / metabolism*
  • Corneal Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Corneal Diseases / pathology
  • Epithelium / metabolism
  • Epithelium / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Keratins / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Metaplasia / drug therapy
  • Tretinoin / administration & dosage
  • Tretinoin / therapeutic use*


  • Tretinoin
  • Keratins