Graft versus host disease: what should the oculoplastic surgeon know?

Curr Opin Ophthalmol. 2017 Sep;28(5):499-504. doi: 10.1097/ICU.0000000000000400.


Purpose of review: To provide a concise review of the oculoplastic manifestations of ocular graft versus host disease (GVHD), and to discuss their management.

Recent findings: Ocular GVHD occurs as a common immune-mediated complication of hematopoietic stem cell transplantation that presents as a Stevens-Johnson-like syndrome in the acute phase or a Sjögren-like syndrome in the chronic phase. Cicatricial conjunctivitis may be underreported in ocular GVHD. The spectrum of oculoplastic manifestations includes GVHD of the skin, cicatricial entropion, nasolacrimal duct obstruction, and lacrimal gland dysfunction. Surgical treatment is indicated for patients with significant corneal complications from entropion. Surgical approach to repair of nasolacrimal duct obstruction is presented in this review, including modified approaches for treating patients at risk for keratitis sicca. Management of the ocular graft versus host patient may require a multidisciplinary approach involving collaboration from the oculoplastic surgeon, the corneal specialist, and the stem cell transplant physician.

Summary: Oculoplastic manifestations of ocular GVHD typically present as cicatricial changes in the eyelid and lacrimal system. Careful oculoplastic and corneal evaluation are necessary when considering surgical management for the ocular GVHD patient.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Competence*
  • Disease Management*
  • Dry Eye Syndromes / etiology
  • Dry Eye Syndromes / therapy*
  • Graft vs Host Disease / complications
  • Graft vs Host Disease / surgery*
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Ophthalmologic Surgical Procedures / methods*
  • Surgeons / standards*