Now, researchers at Loyola University Medical Center have studied whether there is a way to prevent blindness associated with Stevens Johnson syndrome and its more severe form, toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN). Researchers, whose work was published in the journal Cornea (1/6/12), studied whether an amniotic membrane transplantation performed within the first two weeks of the development of SJS or TENS would decrease the likelihood of the patient becoming blind.
Patients who develop Stevens Johnson syndrome or toxic epidermal necrolysis are usually treated in a hospital burn unit because their symptoms resemble burns. The skin blisters and sloughs off (the difference between SJS and TENS is that in SJS less than 30 percent of the skin is affected whereas in TENS, more than 30 percent of the patient's skin is affected). Often the skin sloughs off, leaving the patient open to serious infection. The patient may experience internal burning and damage to the mucous membranes.
Some patients who recover from their ordeal are blind or extremely photosensitive. Damage to their eyes means they may not have enough moisture in the eyes, resulting in eyes that are severely dry.
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What makes SJS and TENS so scary is that they are an allergic reaction to medication that may have been previously tolerated by the patient. A patient could have taken acetaminophen or zithromax repeatedly and never had so much as a tiny reaction, but then one time could take the drug and develop SJS. Furthermore, because some doctors do not recognize SJS, they may use the same drug—such as acetaminophen—to trea