32 cases of sympathetic ophthalmia. A retrospective study at the National Eye Institute, Bethesda, Md., from 1982 to 1992

Arch Ophthalmol. 1995 May;113(5):597-600. doi: 10.1001/archopht.1995.01100050065032.


Objective: To examine the relationship between visual outcome and the clinical management of patients with sympathetic ophthalmia.

Methods: Thirty-two patients with sympathetic ophthalmia who were seen at the National Eye Institute, Bethesda, Md, between 1982 and 1992, were retrospectively reviewed.

Results: There were equal numbers of males and females. Sympathetic ophthalmia occurred after trauma in 23 patients and surgery in nine patients. Sixteen of the 32 patients had a final visual acuity of 20/40 or better; 10 patients had a visual acuity worse than 20/200. Good visual outcome was associated with early and aggressive treatment with corticosteroids, sometimes in combination with other immunosuppressive agents. Poor visual acuity was associated with glaucoma, chorioretinal scars in the macula, and persistent uncontrolled inflammation.

Conclusion: Prompt and aggressive use of antiinflammatory therapy can improve the visual outcome of patients with sympathetic ophthalmia.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Child
  • Cyclosporine / therapeutic use
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Eye Injuries, Penetrating / complications
  • Female
  • Glucocorticoids / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • National Institutes of Health (U.S.)
  • Ophthalmia, Sympathetic / drug therapy*
  • Ophthalmia, Sympathetic / etiology
  • Ophthalmia, Sympathetic / physiopathology*
  • Ophthalmic Solutions
  • Postoperative Complications
  • Retrospective Studies
  • United States
  • Visual Acuity / physiology*


  • Glucocorticoids
  • Ophthalmic Solutions
  • Cyclosporine