Clinical features and associated systemic diseases of HLA-B27 uveitis

Am J Ophthalmol. 1996 Jan;121(1):47-56. doi: 10.1016/s0002-9394(14)70533-1.


Purpose: To delineate the clinical features, course, complications, and associated systemic diseases in patients with HLA-B27-associated uveitis.

Methods: We reviewed the records of 148 patients with HLA-B27-associated uveitis from two large uveitis practices.

Results: There were 127 (86%) white and 21 (14%) nonwhite patients, and a male-to-female ratio of 1.5:1. The median age at onset of uveitis was 32 years; eight patients (5%) had their first attack after age 55 years. Acute anterior uveitis was noted in 129 patients (87%), and nonacute inflammation was noted in 19 (13%). Ocular involvement was categorized as unilateral or unilateral alternating in 138 patients (93%), but ten patients (7%) had bilateral, concurrent disease. The median duration of an attack was six weeks, and the median number of recurrences for patients with more than 12 months of follow-up was three. Cataracts were associated with posterior synechiae (P = .03), increased intraocular pressure (P = .003), and cystoid macular edema (P = .04). An HLA-B27-associated systemic disorder was present in 83 patients (58%), 30 of whom were women, and it was diagnosed in 43 of the 83 patients as a result of the ophthalmologic consultation. Thirty-four (30%) of 112 patients had a family history of a spondyloarthropathy.

Conclusions: Although HLA-B27-associated uveitis is usually described as a disease of young white men, women and nonwhites may also be affected. A subgroup of patients have severe disease and consequently more complications. Most patients have an associated systemic disease, including women, who appear to have more atypical spondyloarthropathies. The systemic diseases were frequently undiagnosed before the onset of the ocular disease and before the uveitis consultation.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adult
  • Age of Onset
  • Eye Diseases / complications
  • Eye Diseases / immunology
  • Female
  • HLA-B27 Antigen / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Recurrence
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sarcoidosis / complications
  • Sarcoidosis / immunology
  • Spondylitis, Ankylosing / complications
  • Spondylitis, Ankylosing / immunology
  • Uveitis, Anterior / complications
  • Uveitis, Anterior / immunology*
  • Uveitis, Anterior / physiopathology


  • HLA-B27 Antigen