Time critical in infectious uveitis

March 1, 2012
Lynda Charters

Infectious uveitis is usually diagnosed based on the clinical findings with consideration of the duration and progression of the disorder, the appearance of the inflammation, and the extent of the retinal involvement.

Orlando, FL-Infectious uveitis is usually diagnosed based on the clinical findings with consideration of the duration and progression of the disorder, the appearance of the inflammation, and the extent of the retinal involvement.

Lucy H. Young, MD, PhD, reviewed the various features of uveitic infections to help clinicians narrow the field of pathogens and begin therapy in a timely fashion before the diagnostic test results become available. She spoke during Retina Subspecialty Day at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

Differentiating uveitic infections

The differential diagnosis in patients with vitritis includes toxoplasmic retinitis, acute retinal necrosis, endophthalmitis, tuberculosis, syphilis, sarcoidosis, autoimmune diseases, intraocular lymphoma, and Toxocara infections.

An important step in these cases is a thorough history.

"The rates of progression and duration are the most important bits of information," Dr.Young said. "Don't be fooled if a patient presents with 2 to 3 days of increased ocular redness and pain. This does not mean that the patient has had this for only 2 to 3 days. Once a true 2- to 3-day course of rapid progression has been established, acute retinal necrosis or bacterial endophthalmitis must be considered."

At the other end of the spectrum, if a patient cannot accurately define the time of progression, syphilis or tuberculosis might be considerations, but in these cases, a rapid diagnosis is not as pressing as in acute cases. In cases in which the patient has been symptomatic for weeks, Toxoplasma infection and fungal endoph thal mitis are consideration, she advised.

Determining the status of the patient's immune system is important. If a patient appears healthy and robust, progressive outer retinal necrosis (PORN) and cytomegalovirus (CMV) retinitis are likely not issues.

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