Therapy Insight: The Recognition and Treatment of Retinal Manifestations of Systemic Vasculitis

Petros Aristodemou; Miles Stanford


Nat Clin Pract Rheumatol. 2006;2(8):443-451. 

In This Article


With the exception of giant cell arteritis and hypertensive retinopathy, fundal signs related to systemic vasculitides are uncommon, or even rare. The vasculitic process typically affects the retinal arteries rather than the veins, and these signs are not specific to any type of vasculitis. Often, the development of retinal signs heralds a relapse of the underlying vasculitis and urgent referral to a rheumatologist is required. Retinal signs on their own rarely require specific treatment, although complications such as neovascularization secondary to retinal ischemia (as is seen, rarely, in lupus and scleroderma) might require laser photocoagulation. Finally, the possibility that the retinal signs might be secondary to iatrogenic immunosuppression should always be borne in mind, as rapid and specific treatment for retinal infections might preserve the patient's sight.


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