Photosensitivity was assessed in 125 patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and in 281 patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) as controls. Photosensitivity was reported by 87/119 (73%) patients with SLE and in 62/269 (23%) patients with RA; involving the face in 72/122 (59%) patients with SLE, then arms, chest, and neck. Patients with SLE reported that sun exposure could exacerbate various systemic symptoms, 51/121 (42%) reported medical treatment for photosensitivity and 41/118 (35%) reported that photosensitivity had a significant impact on their lifestyle. There was no significant difference in disease severity, as judged by physician or laboratory results, between patients scoring high or low on the photosensitivity scale.
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