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Inflamm Bowel Dis. 2004 Mar;10(2):135-9.

Ocular manifestations of inflammatory bowel disease.

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  • 1Division of Ophthalmology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA.


Extraintestinal manifestations of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) occur in one third of patients. Ocular complications are infrequent, occurring in less than 10% of cases, but can be associated with significant morbidity, including blindness. Ocular complaints are often nonspecific; clinical relevance may not be appreciated by patient or physician and, thus, be misdiagnosed. Evaluation of the eye should be a routine component in the care of patients with IBD. Clinicians must be aware of the spectrum of ocular symptoms and know that these complaints may precede a diagnosis of ulcerative colitis (UC) or Crohn's disease (CD). We review ocular pathology in IBD to alert clinicians to the diverse, at times confusing, spectrum of eye disorders associated with these diseases. Clinical manifestations include blurred vision, teary, burning or itchy eyes, ocular pain, photophobia, conjunctival or scleral hyperemia, loss of visual acuity, and possible blindness. Many patients are unaware that IBD has a risk of eye complications and, therefore, patient education is vital.

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