Fast Five Quiz: How Much Do You Know About Erythema Multiforme?

William James, MD


February 15, 2018

Severe eye complications (20%), such as purulent conjunctivitis, anterior uveitis, panophthalmitis, scarring of the conjunctivae, and symblepharon, may result in permanent blindness. Other ocular sequelae may include:

  • Epiphora secondary to obstruction of the lacrimal ducts

  • Sjögren-like sicca syndrome of dry eyes, punctate keratitis, corneal pannus, and mucin deficiency in tears

  • In-turned eyelashes, corneal scarring, corneal and conjunctival neovascularization, epithelial proliferation with squamous metaplasia, photophobia, burning eyes, visual impairment

Most patients with erythema multiforme have an uncomplicated course, with the exception of hosts who are immunocompromised and those with secondary bacterial infections of the skin or the mucosa. Healing of the mucosal areas is usually complete.

Scars and strictures of the esophageal, urethral, vaginal, and anal mucosa rarely occur. However, severe oral involvement may be accompanied by difficulty in consuming food and fluid and can result in dehydration. Vaginal and urethral erosions may cause urinary retention and phimosis. Hematocolpos is the result of genital lesions in teenage females. Severe scarring of the genitourinary tract may cause vaginal and urethral stenosis.

For more on the complications associated with erythema multiforme, read here.


Comments on Medscape are moderated and should be professional in tone and on topic. You must declare any conflicts of interest related to your comments and responses. Please see our Commenting Guide for further information. We reserve the right to remove posts at our sole discretion.