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Systemic diseases and the cornea

Highlights•Corneal involvement has been observed in a number of systemic diseases.•Systemic diseases may affect the entire ocular surface.•Corneal problems are seen in genetic, infectious, immune and endocrine diseases.•Underlying mechanisms and emerging treatments are discussed.AbstractThere is a number of systemic diseases affecting the cornea. These include endocrine disorders (diabetes, Graves' disease, Addison's disease, hyperparathyroidism), infections with viruses (SARS-CoV-2, herpes simplex, varicella zoster, HTLV-1, Epstein-Barr virus) and bacteria (tuberculosis, syphilis and Pseudomonas aeruginosa), autoimmune and inflammatory diseases (rheumatoid arthritis, Sjögren's syndrome, lupus erythematosus, gout, atopic and vernal keratoconjunctivitis, multiple sclerosis, granulomatosis with polyangiitis, sarcoidosis, Cogan's syndrome, immunobullous diseases), corneal deposit disorders (Wilson's disease, cystinosis, Fabry disease, Meretoja's syndrome, mucopolysaccharidosis, hyperlipoproteinemia), and genetic disorders (aniridia, Ehlers-Danlos syndromes, Marfan syndrome). Corneal manifestations often provide an insight to underlying systemic diseases and can act as the first indicator of an undiagnosed systemic condition. Routine eye exams can bring attention to potentially life-threatening illnesses. In this review, we provide a fairly detailed overview of the pathologic changes in the cornea described in various systemic diseases and also discuss underlying molecular mechanisms, as well as current and emerging treatments.

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