[Acute Borrelia infection. Unilateral papillitis as isolated clinical manifestation]

Ophthalmologe. 1997 Aug;94(8):591-4. doi: 10.1007/s003470050165.
[Article in German]


Background: Borrelia burgdorferi is the cause of erythema chronicum migrans and Lyme disease. Ticks like Ixodes ricinus are responsible for transmission. Frequently, the tick bite is not noticed by the patient. Eye manifestations, such as keratoconjunctivitis, scleritis, chronic uveitis, vitritis, chorioretinitis, optic nerve disease, orbital myositis and paresis of the eye muscles, often occur after a long period of time and vary greatly.

Patients and methods: We present below the case reports of a man 38 years old and a woman of 31, each with manifestation of an ocular Borrelia infection (papillitis and panuveitis, respectively).

Results: By antibody-screening with the ELISA technique and Western Blot analysis we were able to prove the serological infection. After specific antibiotic therapy, ocular inflammation improved rapidly, as did visual acuity. The papillitis only healed partially.

Conclusions: In case of therapy-resistant inflammation of the eye we have to exclude general infections because cortisone therapy alone may result in worsening the condition. VECP can be used effectively in the differential diagnosis of papilloedemas. Early diagnosis and therapy of an acute Borrelia infection restrict the extent of the lesions and prevent ocular and general late manifestations. Seronegative values in subjects strongly suspected of having Lyme disease do not necessarily exclude the diagnosis of Lyme disease.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • English Abstract

MeSH terms

  • Borrelia burgdorferi Group / immunology
  • Evoked Potentials, Visual / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin M / blood
  • Lyme Disease / diagnosis*
  • Male
  • Optic Disk*
  • Optic Nerve Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Optic Neuritis / diagnosis
  • Panuveitis / diagnosis
  • Reaction Time / physiology


  • Immunoglobulin M