Ocular tuberculosis - A closer look to an increasing reality

Pulmonology. 2018 Sep-Oct;24(5):289-293. doi: 10.1016/j.pulmoe.2018.02.006. Epub 2018 Mar 17.


Introduction: Ocular tuberculosis (OTB) is a rare form of tuberculosis. Diagnosis is usually presumptive based on epidemiology, clinical findings and positivity of immune response. The aim of the study was to characterize the OTB cases identified in Lisbon.

Methods: Retrospective study on OTB cases diagnosed in Lisbon from 2012 to 2015. The authors gathered data regarding demographic characteristics, diagnostic criteria, type of treatment as well as therapeutic results.

Results: There were 39 reported cases of presumed OTB which accounted for 12.2% of all reported TB cases. Patients had a mean age of 55.5 years. All had ocular manifestations (mainly uveitis). Diagnostic criteria included positive tuberculin skin test (TST) and/or Interferon Gamma Release Assay (IGRA). Culture testing or PCR could not be determined in any patient. Patients had OTB treatment for an average of 9.08 months. Clinical improvement was reported in 91.4% of treated patients. There were no relapses.

Conclusion: This is the first published series about OTB in Lisbon. All cases had a presumptive diagnosis made through TST and/or IGRA testing. Most of treated patients improved, with no signs of relapse and a median 29.9-month follow up. OTB seems to be a growing diagnosis and treatment may be beneficial even in patients with a presumptive diagnosis.

Keywords: Extra-pulmonary tuberculosis; Ocular tuberculosis; Possible tuberculosis; Presumptive diagnosis; Probable tuberculosis; Uveitis.

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tuberculosis, Ocular* / diagnosis
  • Tuberculosis, Ocular* / drug therapy