Ocular screening in severe acute respiratory syndrome

Am J Ophthalmol. 2004 Apr;137(4):773-4. doi: 10.1016/j.ajo.2003.09.060.


Purpose: To investigate the ocular manifestations of patients with severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and to monitor the possible ocular complications arising from the treatment regimen with high-dose systemic corticosteroid drugs.

Design: Prospective, observational cohort case series.

Methods: Ninety eyes from 45 patients with the diagnosis of SARS during an epidemic outbreak in Hong Kong were analyzed. Relevant medical and ophthalmic histories were taken. Ophthalmic examinations, including best-corrected visual acuity, intraocular pressure, slit-lamp, and indirect ophthalmoscopy examination, were performed at baseline and at 2-month and 3-month follow-up.

Setting: Faculty practice in university hospital.

Results: Only two patients had mild elevated intraocular pressure at baseline and at subsequent follow-up. There was no loss of visual acuity, cataract progression, or increased cup-disk ratio. Fundus examinations were unremarkable in all patients.

Conclusions: Our study did not demonstrate any ocular manifestations in patients with SARS. The treatment regimen of high-dose corticosteroid also did not show any significant ocular complications. Routine ocular screening of patients with SARS for diagnosis or for complications might not be indicated.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Diagnostic Techniques, Ophthalmological
  • Disease Outbreaks
  • Eye Diseases / chemically induced
  • Eye Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Female
  • Glucocorticoids / adverse effects
  • Glucocorticoids / therapeutic use
  • Hong Kong
  • Humans
  • Intraocular Pressure
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Ophthalmoscopy
  • Prospective Studies
  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome / diagnosis*
  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome / drug therapy
  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome / epidemiology
  • Visual Acuity


  • Glucocorticoids