Diagnostic features of the autoimmune retinopathies

Autoimmun Rev. 2014 Apr-May;13(4-5):534-8. doi: 10.1016/j.autrev.2014.01.039. Epub 2014 Jan 11.


The term autoimmune retinopathy encompasses a spectrum of rare autoimmune diseases that affect retinal function, often but not exclusively at the level of the photoreceptor. They typically present with painless visual loss, which may be accompanied by normal fundus examination. Some are progressive, often rapidly. They present a diagnostic challenge because there are no standardised clinical or laboratory based diagnostic criteria. Included within the spectrum are cancer-associated retinopathy, melanoma-associated retinopathy and presumed non-paraneoplastic autoimmune retinopathy. Differentiation from other retinopathies can be challenging, with overlap in symptoms, signs, and investigation findings, and an absence of pathognomonic features. However, technological developments in ophthalmic imaging and serological investigation over the past decade are adding novel dimensions to the investigation and classification of patients with these rare diseases. This review addresses the clinical, imaging, and serological features of the autoimmune retinopathies, and discusses the relative strengths and limitations of candidate diagnostic features.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Angiography
  • Autoimmune Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Autoimmune Diseases / epidemiology
  • Autoimmune Diseases / immunology
  • Electrophysiological Phenomena
  • Humans
  • Retinal Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Retinal Diseases / epidemiology
  • Retinal Diseases / immunology
  • Vision, Ocular