Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada Disease: Understanding Symptoms & Treatment Options

Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada Disease

What is Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada Disease?

Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada (VKH) Disease is an autoimmune disorder of the immune system that affects the eyes, skin, and upper layers of the inner ear, called the choroid. It is a form of inflammatory, autoimmune uveitis caused by the body’s own immune system attacking the eye, skin and/or inner ear, resulting in inflammation and damage to them. VKH usually affects both eyes and can cause permanent vision damage if left untreated.

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What are the Symptoms of Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada Disease?

The symptoms of VKH typically include blurry vision, eye pain, light sensitivity, or vision loss. Other symptoms may include headache, loud tinnitus or buzzing in the ear, scalp and skin problems such as alopecia (patches of baldness), skin pigment changes, and/or vision problems like night blindness. Some people may also experience nausea, vomiting, and/or dizziness.

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What are the Treatment Options for Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada Disease?

The goal of treatment for VKH is to control inflammation and reduce the risk of vision loss. Treatment options may include topical and systemic corticosteroids, other immunosuppressive agents, and the use of light filters. In some cases, surgical intervention may be necessary to repair damage to the eye.

Health Considerations for Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada Disease

VKH is typically a lifelong condition that can lead to vision loss if left untreated. People with VKH should be monitored by their healthcare provider to reduce the risk of complications. Regular eye examinations are important to detect eye inflammation and monitor the progression of the disease. Additionally, patients should be encouraged to make lifestyle changes to reduce the risk of complications, such as avoiding smoking and alcohol use, wearing sunglasses, and limiting exposure to direct sunlight.

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