What is Occular Cicatricial Pemphigoid (OCP)?
OCP is also known by other names: Cicatricial pemphigoid, ocular; Pemphigoid, ocular cicatricial.
Ocular cicatricial pemphigoid (OCP) is a form of mucous membrane pemphigoid (a group of rare, chronic autoimmune disorders) that affects the eyes.
Cicatricial pemphigoid, also called mucous membrane pemphigoid, refers to blisters that form on the mucous membranes. This includes the:
The most common sites affected are the mouth and eyes. The rash and blistering may begin in one of these areas and spread to the others if left untreated. If it’s left untreated in the eyes, it may cause scarring, which in turn may lead to blindness.
What is pemphigoid?
Pemphigoid is a rare autoimmune disorder that can develop at any age, including in kids, but that most often affects the elderly. Pemphigoid is caused by a malfunction of the immune system and results in skin rashes and blistering on the legs, arms, and abdomen.
Pemphigoid can also cause blistering on the mucous membranes. Mucous membranes produce mucous that helps protect the inside of your body. Pemphigoid can be found on the mucous membranes in your eyes, nose, mouth, and genitals. It can also occur during pregnancy in some women.
In the early stages, people with OCP generally experience chronic or relapsing conjunctivitis that is often characterized by:
- Trichiasis (in-turning eyelashes)
- and/or mucus drainage.
If left untreated, OCP can progress to severe conjunctiva scarring and vision loss.
Conjunctiva is the mucous membrane that covers the front of the eye and lines the inside of the eyelids.
How is it Diagnosed?
Diagnosis is sometimes confirmed by biopsy.
One option is to take medication that suppresses your immune system, often in conjunction with the corticosteroids. Immunosuppressants help, but they may put you at risk for other infections. Certain antibiotics, such as tetracycline, may also be prescribed to reduce inflammation and infection.
Another treatment can include tear substitutes and epilation (the removal of hair by the roots) of in-turning lashes.