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Graefes Arch Clin Exp Ophthalmol. 2000 Sep;238(9):797-800.

Ligneous conjunctivitis in a girl with severe type I plasminogen deficiency.

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Department of Ophthalmology, Julius Maximilian University, W├╝rzburg, Germany.



Ligneous conjunctivitis is a rare form of chronic recurrent pseudomembranous disease and may be associated with systemic membranous pathological changes. Recently ligneous conjunctivitis has been linked to severe type I plasminogen deficiency. We report on a patient with plasminogen deficiency and severe bilateral ligneous conjunctivitis. A new treatment approach and its outcome in this patient are described.


We present the case of a 9-month-old Turkish girl with massive swelling of the eyelids and hard white pseudomembranes on both lids. The conjunctival smear was positive for Streptococcus pneumoniae. The clinical diagnosis was: ligneous conjunctivitis with superinfection. Histological investigation showed fibrin as major component of the pseudomembranes. The coagulation analyses revealed decreased plasminogen activity (<5%; normal 80-120%) and decreased plasminogen antigen (<0.4 mg/dl; normal 6-25 mg/dl). The failure of surgical therapy led to the attempt at treatment with intravenous lys-plasminogen. A significant improvement of the ocular symptoms occurred; stabilization with no recurrent pseudomembranes could be achieved for 6 months after treatment.


The initial amelioration of symptoms in our patient after systemic replacement therapy confirms the etiological importance of plasminogen deficiency in the development of ligneous conjunctivitis. Curative treatment of ligneous conjunctivitis is still not available. However, intravenous application of plasminogen offers new possibilities in therapy, although long-term treatment seems necessary.

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