Purpose: To describe a series of patients with seronegative arthritic syndromes and HLA-B27-associated uveitis with severe, sight-threatening, posterior segment ocular manifestations.
Methods: The authors reviewed the records of 29 patients (17.4%) with posterior segment involvement from a cohort of 166 patients with HLA-B27-associated uveitis. The inclusion criteria included individuals with a positive HLA-B27 who had at least one of the following findings: (1) severe vitreous inflammation; (2) papillitis; (3) retinal vasculopathy; or (4) pars plana exudates. The study population comprised 13 men and 16 women with a mean age at onset of uveitis of 35.2 years. The average duration of the uveitis was 5.3 years, and the median follow-up time was 26 months.
Findings: Posterior segment involvement occurred in 34 eyes of the 29 patients. The most common findings included severe and diffuse vitritis in 93.1% of the patients and papillitis in 24 patients (82.7%). Retinal vasculitis occurred in seven patients (24.1%), and pars plana exudates were present in two patients (6.8%). Cystoid macular edema (37.9%) and epiretinal membrane (17.2%) were common causes of visual impairment. Systemic immunosuppressive therapy was required for control of inflammation in 32% of the patients.
Conclusion: HLA-B27-associated uveitis may be related to severe, sight-threatening posterior segment manifestations in some patients; this is an under-recognized phenomenon. These patients may require the use of aggressive systemic immunosuppressive therapy to control inflammation and preserve vision.