Incidence of ocular complications in rheumatoid arthritis and the relation of keratoconjunctivitis sicca with its systemic activity

Scand J Rheumatol. 1997;26(2):113-6. doi: 10.3109/03009749709115829.


To investigate the incidence of ocular complications in patients with rheumatoid arthritis under modern modalities of treatment and find the relationship between its systemic activity and ocular complications, routine ophthalmological examinations were done as a prospective study in 111 consecutive patients including 89 inpatients and 22 outpatients with rheumatoid arthritis seen from April to May 1995, in a hospital with a special clinic for rheumatology. Keratoconjunctivitis sicca (secondary Sjögren's syndrome) was found in 19 patients (17.1%), scleritis in one patient (0.9%), central retinal vein occlusion in 2 patients (1.8%), and idiopathic retinal hemorrhage in 3 patients (2.7%). Patients with keratoconjunctivitis sicca had significantly higher titers of rheumatoid factor (Mann-Whitney's U-test, p = 0.0048), higher levels of IgM (p = 0.0484), and lower levels of HDL-cholesterol (p = 0.0191), compared to patients without it. The incidence of ocular complications was comparable to the previous studies and keratoconjunctivitis sicca should be considered in patients with high titers of rheumatoid factor.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / complications
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / epidemiology*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / physiopathology
  • Eye Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Eye Diseases / etiology
  • Eye Diseases / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca / blood
  • Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca / epidemiology*
  • Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Rheumatoid Factor / analysis


  • Rheumatoid Factor