The efficacy of systemic corticosteroids in sight-threatening retinal vasculitis

Eye (Lond). 1994;8 ( Pt 4):443-7. doi: 10.1038/eye.1994.105.


This study was undertaken to assess the efficacy of a standard regime of high-dose systemic oral corticosteroids in the management of retinal vasculitis. The study was performed because the single most common reason for referral to our specialist clinic is the apparent failure of patients to respond to a course of systemic steroids, which in most cases appeared to be due to an inadequate initial dose. A retrospective study of 29 patients (30 treatment episodes) with sight-threatening retinal vasculitis managed initially with high-dose systemic steroids was evaluated 1 year after treatment. Patients included in the study all started treatment with > or = 1 mg/kg prednisolone and remained on a high steroid dose (> or = 40 mg prednisolone) for at least 5 weeks. No patient was on any other immunosuppressive agent at the start of the study. Therapeutic success for this regime, as judged by improvement in visual acuity, was 60%, improving to 77% with addition of other immunosuppressive agents. Eight patients required additional immunosuppressives. Although documented side-effects of steroids were common (50% of cases managed on steroids alone), in only 5 patients were they therapeutically important. Twelve of the 22 patients managed on high-dose steroids alone were off treatment at 12 months. There was no correlation at any stage between visual acuity, activity index or relapses and the final visual outcome at 12 months. Seven cases had a poor visual outcome and the causes for this included relapse in the twelfth month of follow-up, persistent cystoid macular oedema and lens opacity.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Azathioprine / therapeutic use
  • Cyclosporine / therapeutic use
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Humans
  • Prednisolone / administration & dosage
  • Prednisolone / therapeutic use*
  • Retinal Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Retinal Vessels*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vasculitis / drug therapy
  • Visual Acuity


  • Cyclosporine
  • Prednisolone
  • Azathioprine