Which ocular findings are characteristic of relapsing polychondritis (RP)?

Updated: Dec 24, 2020
  • Author: Nicholas Compton, MD; Chief Editor: Herbert S Diamond, MD  more...
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Answer

Of patients with relapsing polychondritis, 50%-65% develop ocular sequelae related to episodic inflammation of the uveal tract, conjunctivae, sclerae, and/or corneas. The most common conditions are episcleritis (39%) and scleritis (14%). See the image below. Collagen types II, IX, and XI are found in the cornea and sclera. Autoantibodies to these collagens, which are found in patients with relapsing polychondritis, may be responsible for direct harm to the eyes.

 

Unilateral episcleritis. Courtesy of Gregory J. Raugi, MD, PhD.

Unilateral episcleritis. Courtesy of Gregory J. Ra Unilateral episcleritis. Courtesy of Gregory J. Raugi, MD, PhD.

Other ocular findings may include the following:

  • Peripheral ulcerative keratitis is found in 4% of patients and has been associated with perforation, endophthalmitis, and bilateral enucleation

  • Papilledema, visual field defects, ptosis, lid retraction, proptosis, and cataracts may also be found on examination


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