Clinicopathologic study of retinal and choroidal biopsies in intraocular inflammation

Am J Ophthalmol. 1995 May;119(5):597-611. doi: 10.1016/s0002-9394(14)70218-1.


Purpose: We reviewed the clinical and histopathologic features of 33 intraocular tissue biopsy specimens from 32 patients and assessed the value of retinal and chorioretinal biopsies performed in patients with intraocular inflammation.

Methods: Twenty-four endoretinal biopsies and nine chorioretinal or choroidal biopsies were performed. On the basis of clinical indications, the specimens were processed for light microscopy, electron microscopy, immunohistochemical staining, in situ DNA hybridization, and polymerase chain reaction.

Results: Of the 24 endoretinal biopsy specimens, 19 were from patients with clinical signs suggestive of viral retinitis. Overall, the diagnosis of viral retinitis was suggested by electron microscopy, immunohistochemical staining, in situ DNA hybridization, or polymerase chain reaction in 53% (ten of 19) biopsies. The preoperative diagnosis was confirmed in seven of ten biopsies in cases of suspected cytomegalovirus retinitis, in one of seven biopsies in cases of suspected acute retinal necrosis, and in two of two biopsies in cases of progressive outer retinal necrosis. The remaining five endoretinal biopsies disclosed Candida in one specimen, subretinal fibrosis in one, and chronic inflammation in three. Histologic examination of the nine chorioretinal or choroidal biopsies disclosed lymphoma in two specimens, a subretinal neovascular membrane in one, uveal melanocytic proliferation in one, toxoplasmic retinochoroiditis in one, viral retinitis in one, and long-standing inflammation in three.

Conclusion: In select cases of intraocular inflammation, intraocular tissue biopsies may provide clinically useful information.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Biopsy
  • Child, Preschool
  • Choroid / ultrastructure*
  • Choroiditis / etiology
  • Choroiditis / pathology*
  • DNA, Viral / analysis
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Eye Infections / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lymphoma, T-Cell / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retina / ultrastructure*
  • Retinitis / etiology
  • Retinitis / pathology*


  • DNA, Viral