Characteristics of diagnosed polymorphous light eruption

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The characteristics of polymorphous light eruption (PMLE) have been described in patients evaluated and diagnosed at specialized photodermatology centers. Our goal was to describe the characteristics of PMLE diagnosed in a general clinic setting.


We used electronic medical records to identify patients diagnosed with PMLE from 2000 to 2002 within a large group practice. We then collected additional information from medical records about patient demographics, lesion morphology, diagnostic testing, and therapies for the selected patients.


We identified 142 patients with diagnosed PMLE. After manual chart review, we excluded 18 patients with other forms of photosensitivity, eczema, or collagen vascular disease. Eighty-percent of the remaining 124 patients were diagnosed by a dermatologist during the study period. Females predominated in our patient series and the mean age of PMLE onset was 37.8 years. Lesions were commonly described as papular, edematous papulare, papulo-vesicular, eczematous, and plaque-like. Few skin biopsies were performed, and no patient had phototesting or photopatch testing. Topical corticosteroids and antihistamines were the most commonly prescribed therapies. Only four patients were treated with phototherapy.


Patient demographics and lesion morphology in our cohort were similar to other reports, but patterns of diagnostic testing and treatment were somewhat different than those observed in photodermatology clinics.

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