Tuberculin skin testing in uveitis patients and treatment of presumed intraocular tuberculosis in Japan

Ophthalmology. 2002 May;109(5):851-7. doi: 10.1016/s0161-6420(02)00973-9.


Purpose: To evaluate the results of tuberculin skin testing in Japanese patients with intraocular inflammation and to assess the outcome of treatment for presumed intraocular tuberculosis in selected patients.

Design: Prospective, noncomparative, interventional case series.

Participants: One hundred twenty-six patients, newly referred to the Ocular Inflammation Service at the Kyorin Eye Center from April 1998 to August 2000, underwent systemic evaluation for the diagnosis and/or treatment of uveitis.

Methods: Tuberculin skin testing with purified protein derivative was performed as part of the systemic evaluation. The diagnosis of presumed intraocular tuberculosis was made when findings were consistent with possible intraocular tuberculosis, the tuberculin skin test was positive (induration more than 10 mm), and no other cause of uveitis was suggested by symptoms, signs, or ancillary testing. Using these criteria, 10 patients were given a diagnosis of presumed intraocular tuberculosis and treated with antituberculosis therapy consisting of isoniazid, with or without rifampicin. Some of these patients also received a tapered course of oral corticosteroids after the initiation of antituberculosis treatment. None of the patients had any signs or symptoms of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome.

Main outcome measures: Visual acuity and ophthalmologic examination to assess degree of intraocular inflammation.

Results: Twenty-six of the 126 patients (20.6%) had a positive tuberculin skin test result. Ten of these 26 patients (38.5%) were treated for a diagnosis of presumed intraocular tuberculosis. Nine patients had no evidence of pulmonary tuberculosis, and one patient had presumed tuberculous hilar lymphadenitis. The predominant clinical finding was choroidal or optic disc nodule in three patients, retinal vasculitis in three patients, and choroiditis in four patients. Nine patients exhibited decreased intraocular inflammation with treatment.

Conclusions: Roughly one fifth of the uveitis patients who underwent systemic evaluation had a positive tuberculin skin test result, and 9 of 10 selected skin test-positive patients with clinical findings consistent with intraocular tuberculosis had a favorable response to antituberculosis therapy. These results suggest that intraocular tuberculosis continues to be a major diagnostic consideration for uveitis patients in Japan.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antitubercular Agents / therapeutic use
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Female
  • Fluorescein Angiography
  • Fundus Oculi
  • Glucocorticoids / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Isoniazid / therapeutic use
  • Japan / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Rifampin / therapeutic use
  • Tuberculin Test / methods*
  • Tuberculosis, Ocular / diagnosis*
  • Tuberculosis, Ocular / drug therapy*
  • Tuberculosis, Ocular / etiology
  • Uveitis / diagnosis*
  • Uveitis / drug therapy*
  • Uveitis / epidemiology
  • Visual Acuity


  • Antitubercular Agents
  • Glucocorticoids
  • Isoniazid
  • Rifampin