The etiology of uveitis: the role of infections with special reference to Lyme borreliosis

Acta Ophthalmol Scand. 1997 Dec;75(6):716-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0420.1997.tb00637.x.


Purpose: To assess the distribution of different uveitis entities and to evaluate their associations with infections, especially Lyme borreliosis.

Methods: During a one-year period 160 consecutive uveitis patients were evaluated in a university clinic. Selected tests were performed depending on the medical history of the patient and the clinical picture of the ocular inflammation.

Results: Uveitis was classified into selected entities for 74.4% of the patients. A direct infection was suggested to be linked with uveitis in 23 patients (14.4%). Lyme borreliosis, toxoplasmosis, and herpetic infections were the most frequently seen, in seven patients (4.3%) each. All patients with Lyme uveitis had manifestations of the posterior segment of the eye, such as vitritis, retinal vasculitis, neuroretinitis, chorioretinitis, or optic neuropathy.

Conclusion: Infections are an important cause of uveitis in a university clinic. Lyme borreliosis is a newly recognised uveitis entity which should be kept in mind in the differential diagnosis of intermediate or posterior uveitis in areas endemic for Lyme borreliosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antibodies, Bacterial / analysis
  • Borrelia burgdorferi Group / genetics
  • Borrelia burgdorferi Group / immunology
  • Borrelia burgdorferi Group / isolation & purification
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • DNA, Bacterial / analysis
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Eye Infections, Bacterial / diagnosis
  • Eye Infections, Bacterial / etiology*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • HLA-B27 Antigen / immunology
  • Humans
  • Lyme Disease / complications*
  • Lyme Disease / diagnosis
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Uveitis, Intermediate / diagnosis
  • Uveitis, Intermediate / microbiology*
  • Uveitis, Posterior / diagnosis
  • Uveitis, Posterior / microbiology*


  • Antibodies, Bacterial
  • DNA, Bacterial
  • HLA-B27 Antigen