Background Polymorphic light eruption and erythropoietic protoporphyria (EPP) have been demonstrated to have a moderate and large impact on the quality of life (QoL) of patients, respectively. However, there is little information available about the impact of other photodermatoses on QoL.
Objectives To assess and compare the impact of all forms of photodermatoses on patients’ QoL using the standard 1-week Dermatology Life Quality Index (DLQI) questionnaire and a modified questionnaire to assess the impact over the previous year.
Methods All patients with photodermatoses seen between 2001 and 2005 at five U.K. photobiology centres were contacted by post on the same day during a forecasted sunny week across the U.K. and asked to complete DLQI questionnaires.
Results A total of 1877 patients were contacted. Seven hundred and ninety-seven (42%) patients replied, with a range from 30% to 48% for the five individual centres. Nearly two-thirds of patients with actinic prurigo (AP) and more than one-third of patients with photoaggravated dermatoses (PAD), chronic actinic dermatitis, EPP and solar urticaria had a DLQI of > 10, confirming a very large effect of the disorders on QoL. Of the cutaneous porphyrias, both variegate porphyria (median DLQI 3) and porphyria cutanea tarda (median DLQI 1·5) had a much lower impact on QoL than EPP.
Conclusion This is the first large-scale study to attempt to measure the impact of a range of photodermatoses on QoL. Photodermatoses have a major impact on QoL. This impact is highest in AP and PAD.