A qualitative study of knowledge, behaviour and attitudes regarding vitamin D acquisition among patients with photosensitivity disorders

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Cutaneous exposure to sunlight is a major source of vitamin D. Individuals with photosensitivity disorders have symptoms provoked by sunlight and may not achieve the brief sunlight exposures that convey vitamin D acquisition.

To explore knowledge, behaviour and attitudes towards vitamin D and its acquisition in patients with photosensitivity.

Patients (n=19) diagnosed with solar urticaria, erythropoietic protoporphyria or polymorphic light eruption at a specialist photoinvestigation centre participated in semi‐structured focus groups to discuss vitamin D knowledge, acquisition behaviours, and attitudes towards vitamin D acquisition through sunlight and diet. Discussions were analysed by thematic analysis using MAXQDA11.

Knowledge of vitamin D was variable. There was good awareness that sunlight exposure is an important source but knowledge of dietary sources was poor. Patients had little concern for their own vitamin D status prior to attending the photoinvestigation centre. Most patients avoided sunlight exposure, were unable to achieve the guidance on sun exposure for healthy individuals, and were aware this could affect their vitamin D status. Use of oral vitamin D supplements was common and all were willing to consider supplements if required. Patients recommended improving education of clinicians to increase patient awareness of vitamin D,

More targeted guidance is required on acquisition of vitamin D for patients with photosensitivity, supported by increased patient and clinician education.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
JournalPhotodermatology Photoimmunology and Photomedicine
Early online date10 Apr 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 10 Apr 2020