Ocular features associated with anticardiolipin antibodies: a descriptive study

Am J Ophthalmol. 2001 Apr;131(4):451-6. doi: 10.1016/s0002-9394(00)00884-9.


Purpose: To evaluate ocular features in patients presenting with inflammation in the presence of anticardiolipin antibodies.

Methods: A descriptive study of 13 patients presenting with idiopathic ocular inflammation involving anterior and posterior segment was performed. Patients were followed for a mean follow-up of 22 months (range, 1 to 125). A comprehensive report of ocular involvement, including visual symptoms, visual acuity, clinical characteristics, funduscopic and fluorangiographic features, was reported. Systemic associated symptoms were analyzed. Laboratory investigations included anticardiolipin antibody titers and isotypes, presence of other autoantibodies, and markers of immune system activation.

Results: The most common ocular symptom at presentation was blurred vision (eight patients) followed by redness and pain(three patients) and visual loss(two patients). Anterior segment abnormalities, including iritis (eight patients) scleritis (two patients) and filamentary keratitis (one patient), were present in 76% of patients, whereas the most represented feature of posterior involvement was retinal vasculitis (60%) followed by vitritis (38%), retinal detachment (15%), posterior scleritis (7%), and central retinal artery occlusion (7%). All patients had abnormal titers of anticardiolipin antibodies, predominantly IgG isotype; six had markers of immune system activation.

Conclusions: Although posterior pole disease is more commonly associated with anticardiolipin antibodies, the anterior segment can also be involved with a wide spectrum of features. Scleritis has never been previously described as associated with anticardiolipin antibodies. Systemic symptoms are frequently present in association with ocular disease.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antibodies, Anticardiolipin / analysis*
  • Antiphospholipid Syndrome / diagnosis*
  • Female
  • Fluorescein Angiography
  • Fundus Oculi
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Scleritis / diagnosis*
  • Uveitis, Anterior / diagnosis*
  • Uveitis, Posterior / diagnosis*
  • Visual Acuity


  • Antibodies, Anticardiolipin