Conjunctival ulcers in Behçet's disease

Ehud Zamir, Bahram Bodaghi, Ilknur Tugal-Tutkun, Robert F. See, Frederic Charlotte, Robert C. Wang, Bertrand Wechsler, Phuc LeHoang, Irene Anteby, Narsing A. Rao*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Purpose: To describe the occurrence of conjunctival ulcers as a manifestation of Behçet's disease. Design: Retrospective, noncomparative, interventional case series with histopathologic correlation. Methods: Six patients who fulfilled the diagnostic criteria for Behçet's disease and presented with painful conjunctival ulcers were included in the study. Three of these ulcers were biopsied and studied histologically and immunohistochemically. The lesions were treated with topical or subconjunctival injection of corticosteroids and, in one case, with oral indomethacin. Results: Although all six patients fulfilled the diagnostic criteria for Behçet's disease, two developed uveitis and other signs of Behçet's disease only months to years after the appearance of the conjunctival ulcers. The 3-to 5-mm, round to oval ulcers were located in the limbal and/or bulbar conjunctiva. Histopathology revealed disrupted epithelium, infiltration of both acute and chronic inflammatory cells, and high endothelial venules. Immunohistochemical analysis of the infiltrating lymphocytes revealed primarily T-cell populations admixed with several B cells and CD68-positive histiocytes. After treatment, the conjunctival lesions invariably healed without scarring. Conclusions: In addition to the oral and genital ulceration, ulcers can also be found in the conjunctiva of patients with Behçet's disease. Although this is a rare clinical sign, when accompanied by uveitis or orogenital ulcers, it may suggest a diagnosis of Behçet's disease.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1137-1141
Number of pages5
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2003
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Supported in part by grant no. EY03040 from the National Institutes of Health and by a grant from Research to Prevent Blindness, Inc., New York, NY.


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