Syphilitic retinitis. A cause of necrotizing retinitis

Retina. Fall-Winter 1984;4(4):221-4.


A healthy-appearing male patient presented with signs of unilateral fibrinous iritis, necrotizing retinitis, retinal vasculitis, and vitritis, suggestive of a herpesvirus retinitis or acute retinal necrosis syndrome (ARN). The patient, an active homosexual, withheld the details of his sexual history, portraying himself as exclusively heterosexual. With the exception of a positive VDRL and FTA-ABS, the workup was negative. Examination of the cerebrospinal fluid confirmed the presence of neurosyphilis. The patient was successfully treated with intravenous penicillin, which resulted in a complete visual recovery. Syphilitic retinitis must be considered in evaluating patients with necrotizing retinitis.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Homosexuality
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Necrosis
  • Neurosyphilis / complications
  • Penicillin G / therapeutic use
  • Retina / pathology
  • Retinitis / drug therapy
  • Retinitis / etiology*
  • Retinitis / pathology
  • Syphilis / complications*
  • Syphilis / drug therapy
  • Syphilis / pathology
  • Syphilis Serodiagnosis


  • Penicillin G