American journal of ophthalmology

Clinical features and incidence rates of ocular complications in patients with ocular syphilis.

PMID 25447116


To describe the clinical outcomes of ocular syphilis. Retrospective chart review. The charts of patients with ocular syphilis (regardless of human immunodeficiency virus [HIV] status) seen in a uveitis referral center between 1984 and 2014 were reviewed. The study included 35 patients (61 eyes). Panuveitis was the most common type of ocular inflammation (28 eyes), independent of HIV status. Thirty-three of 35 patients received systemic antibiotics with 24 patients treated with intravenous (IV) penicillin only. When compared to the HIV-positive patients, HIV-negative patients with ocular syphilis were older (P < .001), were more likely to be female (P = .004), and had poorer visual acuity at presentation (P = .01). During follow-up, the incidence rates of visual impairment were 0.29 per eye-year (EY; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.06/EY-0.86/EY) and 0.12/EY (95% CI: 0.01/EY-0.42/EY) among the HIV-negative and the HIV-positive patients, respectively. The incidence of blindness was 0.07/EY (95% CI: 0.009/EY-0.27/EY) and 0.06/EY (95% CI: 0.002/EY-0.35/EY) among the HIV-negative and the HIV-positive patients, respectively. Longer duration of uveitis prior to diagnosis and chorioretinitis in the macula at presentation were associated with ≥ 2 Snellen lines of visual loss (P < .01) and visual acuity loss to 20/50 or worse (P = .03) in HIV-negative patients, respectively. Syphilis is an uncommon cause of ocular inflammation in both HIV-negative and HIV-positive patients. Visual loss and ocular complications were common among HIV-negative patients even with systemic antibiotic treatment. Delay of diagnosis and chorioretinitis in the macula were associated with visual loss in these patients.

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