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Corneal staining patterns in vernal keratoconjunctivitis: the new VKC-CLEK scoring scale


Aim To propose a new scoring system in the assessment of ocular surface epithelial damage in vernal keratoconjunctivitis (VKC).

Methods 25 consecutive patients with VKC (50 eyes) were evaluated using the Quality of Life in children with VKC (QUICK) questionnaire and objective clinical measures: fluorescein and lissamine green staining and cornea confocal microscopy (Heidelberg Retina Tomography 3). Oxford, Van Bljsterweld and a new system, the VKC-Collaborative Longitudinal Evaluation of Keratoconus study (CLEK) (VKC-CLEK) scores, were used to evaluate the epithelial damage after staining.

Results Mean Oxford and VKC-CLEK scores were significantly different after fluorescein staining (P<0.001), but significantly correlated (P<0.001; r=0.649). The same data were obtained comparing Van Bljsterweld and VKC-CLEK after lissamine green staining (P<0.001; r=0.760). In patient with limbal VKC, a statistically significant difference was found comparing new VKC-CLEK scores and Oxford or Van Bljsterweld scores (P<0.001), but not in tarsal VKC. A statistically superior concordance was found between QUICK and VKC-CLEK scores compared with standard staining scores values (P<0.001).

Conclusions Oxford and Van Bijsterveld scores are not adequate for the evaluation of the epithelial damage in patients with limbal VKC because the staining patterns considered for these tests do not correspond to the staining patterns in patients with VKC. We propose a new scoring system, VKC-CLEK, to better evaluate both limbal and tarsal epithelial damage in patients with VKC.

  • conjunctiva
  • cornea
  • inflammation
  • ocular surface
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