Manifestations of Whipple's disease in the posterior segment of the eye

Arch Ophthalmol. 1984 Mar;102(3):384-90. doi: 10.1001/archopht.1984.01040030302024.


Ocular manifestations of Whipple's disease result from CNS involvement, direct intraocular involvement, or both. Ocular signs caused by CNS involvement occurred in 30 of the 34 patients with ocular manifestations described in the literature. In only four of the 34 cases were ocular manifestations due solely to intraocular involvement. Two cases reported herein had unique intraocular involvement, manifested as diffuse chorioretinal inflammation. Fluorescein angiography showed diffuse vasculitis, with hemorrhages, exudates, retinal capillary occlusion in the perifoveal and midperipheral areas, capillary dilation at the optic disc, and choroidal folds. Proper antibiotic treatment resulted in ocular and systemic recovery. Follow-up is mandatory because of possible recurrences, which may start with intraocular signs, followed by systemic manifestations. Some cases progress to fetal CNS involvement. Therefore, when intraocular signs recur in treated patients, antibiotic therapy should be restarted or dose should be increased.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Biopsy
  • Chorioretinitis / etiology
  • Connective Tissue Diseases / complications
  • Eye Diseases / etiology*
  • Female
  • Fluorescein Angiography
  • Humans
  • Intestine, Small / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Optic Disk
  • Photoreceptor Cells / pathology
  • Retinal Diseases / etiology
  • Retinal Hemorrhage / etiology
  • Uveitis / etiology
  • Visual Acuity
  • Whipple Disease / complications*
  • Whipple Disease / drug therapy


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents