Ocular Adverse Events After Influenza Vaccination in Older Adults: Self-Controlled Case Series Using a Large Database in Japan

Ophthalmic Epidemiol. 2023 Dec 12:1-6. doi: 10.1080/09286586.2023.2289990. Online ahead of print.


Background: To clarify the risk of adverse ocular events following influenza vaccination.

Methods: This self-controlled case series study used a claims database linked to vaccination records of a large city in Japan between April 2014 and September 2021. Individuals aged ≥ 65 years who developed adverse ocular events during the follow-up period were included. The exposure was influenza vaccination. The primary outcome was defined as the occurrence of at least one of the following five eye diseases: uveitis, scleritis, retinal vein occlusion, retinal artery occlusion, or optic neuritis. Conditional Poisson regression was used to estimate the within-subject incidence rate ratio of ocular adverse events during the risk period (0-56 days after vaccination) compared to the control period.

Results: A total of 4,527 cases were eligible for the study (median age, 74 years; male, 42%). The incidence rate ratio for the outcome during the risk period was 0.99 (95% confidence interval, 0.87 to 1.14). No increased risk was observed for individual components of the outcome either; the incidence rate ratio was 0.94 (0.78 to 1.13) for uveitis, 1.17 (0.86 to 1.59) for scleritis, 0.98 (0.76 to 1.27) for retinal vein occlusion, 0.89 (0.42 to 1.87) for retinal artery occlusion, and 0.87 (0.44 to 1.70) for optic neuritis.

Conclusions: This self-controlled case series showed no apparent increase in the risk of adverse ocular events after influenza vaccination among older adults. These results mitigate the concerns of older adults who may hesitate to receive influenza vaccination for fear of adverse ocular events.

Abbreviation: HR = hazard ratio; CI = confidence interval; RVO = retinal vein occlusion; SCCS = self-controlled case series.

Keywords: Influenza; ocular adverse events; older adults; self-controlled case series; vaccination.