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Cornea. 2010 Oct;29(10):1189-91. doi: 10.1097/ICO.0b013e3181d4fd5c.

Interstitial keratitis secondary to severe hidradenitis suppurativa: a case report and literature review.

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  • 1Department of Ophthalmology, Henry Ford Health System, Detroit, MI, USA.



To report a patient who presented with bilateral interstitial keratitis in association with severe hidradenitis suppurativa.


Case report.


An 18-year-old African American woman with severe active hidradenitis suppurativa of the axillae and groin presented with a 2-week history of bilateral blurry vision. On examination, best-corrected visual acuity was counting fingers in the right eye and 20/70 in the left eye. Slit-lamp examination revealed diffuse vascularization of the corneal stroma with surrounding infiltrates bilaterally. In the left eye, corneal thinning and an epithelial defect were present in an area of infiltrate. Our clinical impression at that time was bilateral interstitial keratitis with secondary bacterial keratitis in the left eye. Topical therapy, prednisolone acetate 1% in the right eye, and ofloxacin in the left eye, was instituted. A systemic workup, including antinuclear antibody, rheumatoid factor, Lyme titer, cytoplasmatic staining antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies, perinuclear staining antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies, erythrocyte sedimentation rate, Venereal Disease Research Laboratory, rapid plasma reagin, basic metabolic panel, angiotensin-converting enzyme level, and a chest x-ray was negative. Topical steroids were used in the left eye after resolution of the bacterial keratitis. The interstitial keratitis responded to topical steroids and remained in remission after steroid taper. However, bilateral interstitial keratitis recurred coincident with a severe flare of hidradenitis suppurativa within 1 month of discontinuing the topical steroids. A course of subcutaneous adalimumab injections (40 mg/mL every 2 weeks) for hidradenitis suppurativa was implemented. Both her dermatological and ocular conditions responded to this therapy and have remained in remission through 7 months of follow-up.


Hidradenitis suppurativa is a rare cause of bilateral interstitial keratitis. Patients may experience simultaneous exacerbations of both dermatological and ocular manifestations. Systemic treatment with adalimumab can improve both dermatological and ocular conditions.

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