Guideline for the Diagnosis and Management of Vitiligo

D.J. Gawkrodger; A.D. Ormerod; L. Shaw; I. Mauri-Sole; M.E. Whitton; M.J. Watts; A.V. Anstey; J. Ingham; K. Young


The British Journal of Dermatology. 2008;159(5):1051-1076. 

In This Article

What is the Accuracy of Wood's Light Compared With Naked Eye Examination in the Diagnosis of Vitiligo?


Wood's light is a hand-held ultraviolet (UV) irradiation device that emits UVA. It has been used to identify areas of depigmentation that may not be visible to the naked eye, especially in pale skin.


The GDG considered the limited evidence, consisting of two observational studies, and consensus statements regarding Wood's light.

Evidence Statements

Wood's light delineates areas of pigment loss. Actively depigmenting areas may appear larger under UV illumination than with visible light, whereas areas showing repigmentation can appear larger or smaller with UV than with visible light. Thus combined assessment of a selected area in natural and Wood's light is useful.[5] Photography using a UV camera is also reported as useful in documenting pigmentary disorders.[6] Although Wood's light has not been scientifically evaluated, it has potential as a tool for objective assessment of vitiligo in research and clinical trials.

Evidence to Recommendations

Wood's light can give the dermatologist additional information about the extent and activity of patches of vitiligo. Experience is needed in the use of the machine and evaluation of the results (level of evidence 4).


  1. Wood's light may be of use in the diagnosis of vitiligo and in the demonstration of the extent and activity of the disease in subjects with skin types I and II. Wood's light can be of use in monitoring response to therapy.

    Grade of recommendation D
    Level of evidence 4



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