Impact of photosensitivity disorders on the life quality of children

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Abstract

Background/Purpose

Abnormal cutaneous sensitivity to the ultraviolet and/or visible radiation in sunlight characterizes photosensitivity disorders. Little is known regarding their impact in childhood. Our objective was to characterize childhood photosensitivity disorders presenting to a photoinvestigation unit, evaluating their impact on quality of life (QoL).

Methods

Photoinvestigation records of children attending from 2000 to 2007 were evaluated for diagnosis, clinical, demographic and phototest parameters. These children were subsequently contacted during summertime to evaluate the impact of photosensitivity on QoL, utilizing the children's dermatology life quality index (CDLQI).

Results

83 children underwent photoinvestigation; 62 (74.7%) were diagnosed photosensitive (mean age 8.6 years, range 2–16; 33 female), with abnormal phototest findings in 35 children. 38/55 questionnaires (69.1%) were returned. Mean (± standard deviation) CDLQI score (all diagnoses) was 10.2 ± 7.3 with very high scores in xeroderma pigmentosum (20.7 ± 5.7; n = 3) and actinic prurigo (18.2 ± 7.1; n = 6) and moderate scores in photoaggravated eczema (7.9 ± 4.2; n = 8) and polymorphic light eruption (6.2 ± 4.4 n = 18). CDLQI correlated with number of months affected per year (r = 0.595, P = 0.001).

Conclusion

Photosensitivity disorders have a substantial impact, ranging from moderate to extremely large, on QoL in childhood, and the psychological consequences should be considered in their management.

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