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With Eye Protection, Psoriasis Therapy Poses Little Risk

Long-term exposure to psoralen UVA therapy doesn't appear to damage lens or increase cataract risk

THURSDAY, Aug. 2 (HealthDay News) -- There appears to be little increased risk of visual impairment or cataracts from the long-term use of psoralen plus ultraviolet A to treat psoriasis and other skin disorders in middle-aged patients who wear appropriate eye protection, according to a study in the August issue of Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

Dimitrios Malanos, M.D., and Robert S. Stern, M.D., of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School, Boston, identified 614 patients from the PUVA cohort who had pre- and post-1993 ophthalmologic exams to determine if lengthy exposure to the skin therapy could increase ocular damage or cataracts. The researchers looked at 14 years of data in addition to previous 10-year data.

Although UVA is absorbed in the lens, researchers found no evidence of eye damage due to PUVA in participants who were required to wear UVA blocking sunglasses when outside or when inside near windows during daylight hours. This was based on data from a patient's last pre-1993 eye tests to a final eye exam in 2004.

"Our findings, which reflect 25 years of prospective study, suggest that there is no significant increase in risk of either visual impairment or cataract with exposure to increasing numbers of PUVA therapy sessions," the authors wrote. "These findings are consistent with our findings in our previous reports."

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