Symptomatic intraocular inflammation in multiple sclerosis

Clin Exp Ophthalmol. 2000 Apr;28(2):97-102. doi: 10.1046/j.1442-9071.2000.00270.x.


Purpose: The aim of this study was to determine the type and outcome of uveitis in patients with multiple sclerosis.

Methods: A retrospective study of 16 patients attending the uveitis clinic who had a clinically definite diagnosis of multiple sclerosis and symptomatic intraocular inflammation. The type of uveitis and complications present as well as the outcome of therapeutic intervention, either medical or surgical, was determined.

Results: Chronic, bilateral anterior uveitis was present in six patients. Secondary cataracts requiring surgery occurred in 10 eyes, and trabeculectomy was done on five eyes for secondary glaucoma. Symptomatic vitritis (visual blurring and/or visually significant floaters) occurred in eight patients and was bilateral in four. Occlusive peripheral retinal vasculitis with subsequent areas of ischaemia and neovascularization requiring panretinal laser photocoagulation developed in eight eyes, five of which also required vitrectomy. Other posterior segment complications included macular oedema (four) and epiretinal membrane involving the macula (two). Five patients required systemic steroids for control of posterior uveitis. The median visual improvement following cataract surgery or vitrectomy was 3 Snellen lines to a median visual acuity of 6/18.

Conclusions: A wide range of clinical patterns of uveitis, which may be both symptomatic and sight-threatening, occur in patients with multiple sclerosis. In addition, the complications of uveitis may cause significant visual morbidity, much of which is amenable to appropriate surgical intervention. It is important that these potentially remediable conditions are recognized and treated to ensure that patients with multiple sclerosis retain optimum visual function.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / therapeutic use
  • Cataract / etiology
  • Cataract Extraction
  • Female
  • Glaucoma, Open-Angle / etiology
  • Glaucoma, Open-Angle / therapy
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Laser Coagulation
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Sclerosis / complications*
  • Retinal Neovascularization / etiology
  • Retinal Neovascularization / surgery
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Uveitis / classification
  • Uveitis / etiology*
  • Uveitis / therapy
  • Vitrectomy


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents