Purpose: To identify the ocular complications and to statistically evaluate the possible association of pars planitis with multiple sclerosis (MS) in a homogeneous population of pars planitis patients.
Methods: The authors reexamined 36 patients and reviewed the records of an additional 18 patients (total: 54 patients, 108 eyes) with idiopathic pars planitis.
Results: The initial mean visual acuity of 20/46 (logMAR: 0.36 +/- 0.50) was not statistically different from the final mean visual acuity of 20/44 (logMAR: 0.34 +/- 0.45; P = 0.73), after a mean follow-up of 89.2 months. Complications included neovascularization with or without associated vitreous hemorrhage (7 eyes, 6.5%), moderate to severe cellophane retinopathy (7 eyes, 6.5%), chronic cystoid macular edema (CME) (9 eyes, 8.3%), visually significant cataracts (16 eyes, 14.8%), and retinal detachment (9 eyes, 8.3%). Significant lens opacification was associated with a greater risk of retinal detachment (P = 0.004). In four patients (7.4%), optic neuritis developed, and in an additional eight patients (14.8%) MS developed. Kaplan-Meier analysis of these data showed a 16.2% +/- 6.2% risk of MS solely developing in patients, and a 20.4% +/- 6.7% risk of either MS or optic neuritis developing, after 5 years of disease. The presence of periphlebitis at the time of pars planitis diagnosis increased the rate of development of these conditions (P = 0.002). Six patients (11.1%) had a family history positive for MS in a first-degree relative.
Conclusions: This study demonstrates the overall favorable visual prognosis in patients with pars planitis. Patients with significant cataract formation appear to be at greater risk for retinal detachment. Periphlebitis at the time of diagnosis of pars planitis increases the risk of development of optic neuritis or MS. The strong association demonstrated between pars planitis and MS in this study further supports a link between the two disease states.