Search Autoimmune Association

What is Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada disease

Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada disease is a rare disorder of unknown origin that affects many body systems, including as the eyes, ears, skin, and the covering of the brain and spinal cord (the meninges). The most noticeable symptom is a rapid loss of vision. There may also be neurological signs such as severe headache, vertigo, nausea, and drowsiness. Loss of hearing, and loss of hair (alopecia) and skin color may occur along, with whitening (loss of pigmentation) of the hair and eyelashes (poliosis). (source)

Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada disease (VKH disease) affects the eyes, ears, nervous system, and skin. The symptoms of VKH occur in different phases. The early symptoms include headaches, eye pain, and dizziness. These are followed by hearing loss and inflammation of the eye (panuveitis). Later symptoms include development of white patches of skin and hair (vitiligo), hair loss (alopecia), cataracts, and glaucoma. The exact cause of VKH disease is unknown, but the symptoms are thought to be due to an abnormal response of the immune system to a viral infection. Genetic factors may be involved. Diagnosis of VKH disease is based on the symptoms, clinical exam, and imaging studies. Other more common diseases may need to excluded before a diagnosis of VKH disease is made. VKH disease is treated with corticosteroids and other medications.[1][2][3][4]

This information is provided by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD).

Related Autoimmune Patient Groups

American Vitiligo Research Foundation
Vitiligo Support International
Vitiligo Support International
National Alopecia Areata Foundation
National Alopecia Areata Foundation
Prevent Blindness
Prevent Blindness

Looking for more information?

Many of our partner organizations specialize in support for specific autoimmune diseases and have additional resources, research and care-management information available.


Welcome, and thank you for visiting our brand-new website!

We’re excited to be launching the site with new content and features created to provide you with the information you are seeking.

Learn More