Purpose: To analyze the visual outcome, systemic associations, effectiveness of treatment, and predicting features of 104 scleritis patients.
Design: Retrospective case series.
Participants: One hundred four patients treated for scleritis at the University Medical Centers of Groningen and Utrecht, The Netherlands.
Methods: The clinical records of 104 patients diagnosed with scleritis between 1992 and 2011 at the University Medical Centers of Groningen (n = 64) and of Utrecht (n = 40) were analyzed retrospectively.
Main outcome measures: Loss of visual acuity, ocular complications, related systemic disease, type of treatment, time to treatment success, and predictive features.
Results: Mean age ± standard deviation (SD) was 51.5 ± 13.6 years, and 63 (60.6 %) patients were female. Mean follow-up ± SD was 38.2 ± 33.8 months. A loss of more than 2 lines of Snellen acuity was observed in 23 patients, 3 of whom had a final visual acuity of no light perception. In general, patients with necrotizing scleritis (n = 15) had a poorer outcome. Ocular complications were observed in 88 (84.6%) patients. Underlying systemic disease was identified in 34 (32.7%) patients. Steroid-sparing immunosuppressive medication was used in 47 patients, 36 of whom were treated with methotrexate (MTX). This treatment was successful in 17 (47.2%) patients over the course of a mean ± SD of 103.7 ± 83.7 weeks. Mycophenolate mofetil was the treatment in 10 patients, and in 5 of these patients, treatment success was achieved in a mean ± SD of 65.3 ± 37.4 weeks. Treatment with tumor necrosis factor α (TNF-α) antagonists led to treatment success in a mean ± SD of 32.6 ± 21.8 weeks in 5 of the 11 treated patients. Patients with loss of visual acuity or those treated with steroid-sparing immunosuppressive drugs more often had an underlying associated disease, bilateral scleritis, and a longer duration of symptoms at presentation.
Conclusions: Scleritis is a severe ocular inflammatory disease often associated with ocular complications. In this population, roughly half of the patients were treated with systemic immunosuppressive medication. Mycophenolate mofetil and TNF-α antagonists can be used in case of MTX failure. Tumor necrosis factor α antagonists seemed to be more effective than MTX. Within this group, an underlying associated disease, bilateral scleritis, and a longer duration of symptoms at presentation were predictive features for a more severe disease course.
Copyright © 2013 American Academy of Ophthalmology. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.