Anterior segment and external ocular disorders associated with HIV infections in the era of HAART in Chiang Mai University Hospital, a prospective descriptive cross sectional study

PLoS One. 2018 Feb 21;13(2):e0193161. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0193161. eCollection 2018.


Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) causes impairment to the human immune system which leads to immunocompromised conditions, including ocular complications. Several important HIV-associated disorders may involve the anterior segment, ocular surface, and adnexae organ such as dry eye, blepharitis which reduce quality of life of patients. In present, potent antiretroviral therapies HAART (highly active antiretroviral therapy) has improved the length and quality of life which may lead to an increased prevalence of anterior segment ocular disorders. Hence, this study has been undertaken to identify the prevalence and associated factors of anterior segment and external ocular disorder in HIV infected patients in the era of HAART. A prospective descriptive cross sectional study was carried out in HIV positive patients conducted at the Department of Ophthalmology, Chiang Mai University Hospital, from February 2014 to October 2015. Detail history and ocular examination was carried out to examine for anterior segment and external ocular disorders. A total number of 363 patients were included for this prospective cross-sectional study. From the total of 363 patients, 123 patients had an anterior segment and external ocular disorder which account as the prevalence of 33.9%. The most common anterior segment manifestations was dry eye seen in 36 patients (9.9%), followed by posterior blepharitis (Meibomian gland dysfunction) seen in 23 patients (6.3%) and anterior blepharitis seen in 12 patients (3.3%). Other ocular complications included microvasculopathy, immune recovery uveitis, conjunctivitis, papilloma, anterior uveitis, corneal ulcer, nevus, trichiasis, molluscum contangiosum, Kaposi sarcoma, interstitial keratitis, conjunctival lymphangiectasia, dacryocystitis, vernal keratoconjunctivitis and eyelid penicilosis. In this study, the prevalance of anterior segment disorders was higher than in the preHAART era. Dry eye, blepharitis and uveitis were the top three most common anterior segment disorders in the HAART era. The statistical analysis showed no association between age, sex, CD4 count, duration of infection or receiving HAART and anterior segment disorders. Anterior segment abnormalities reduce the quality of life of patients, so ophthalmologists have to be aware and complete ocular examination should be performed in all HIV infected patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antiretroviral Therapy, Highly Active / adverse effects
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Eye Diseases* / chemically induced
  • Eye Diseases* / epidemiology
  • Eye Diseases* / pathology
  • Female
  • HIV Infections* / drug therapy
  • HIV Infections* / epidemiology
  • HIV Infections* / pathology
  • HIV-1*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Prospective Studies

Grants and funding

This work was supported by Faculty of Medicine, Chiang Mai university, Thailand, grant number: 073/2557 ( The funder has no role in the study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.