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Retina. 2005 Feb-Mar;25(2):182-8.

Long-term effect of acetazolamide treatment of patients with uveitic chronic cystoid macular edema is limited by persisting inflammation.

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  • 1University Eye Hospital Essen, Essen, Germany. harald.schilling@uni-essen.de



To assess the long-term effect of acetazolamide treatment on patients with cystoid macular edema (CME) in the course of intermediate or posterior chronic uveitis and to define those patients who may particularly benefit from the drug.


Fifty-two eyes (45 patients) with chronic uveitic CME were treated with acetazolamide at an initial dosage of 500 mg/d. The effect of treatment was assessed by fluorescein angiography, ophthalmoscopy, visual acuity, and Amsler testing. Therapy was withdrawn when CME did not improve at 3 weeks. In cases with CME improvement, the dosage was gradually tapered.


The mean follow-up was 3.1 years (minimum, 1.5 years). Two subgroups were identified: group 1, quiescence of uveitis with acetazolamide as the single therapeutic agent (33 eyes); and group 2, chronically active uveitis requiring additional systemic antiinflammatory drugs (19 eyes). In both groups, visual acuity improvement was statistically significant (group 1, P = 0.012; group 2, P = 0.025). In 12 patients with a stable visual acuity gain, the medication dose could be tapered off completely without any recurrent edema shown by fluorescein angiography after a minimum follow-up of 1 year. Sixteen patients required a maintenance dosage, ranging from 125 to 500 mg daily. No major adverse effects of the medication were observed.


During long-term follow-up, low-dose acetazolamide can be a useful therapeutic option for chronic CME in uveitis. The effect was better in patients with quiescence of uveitis than in those with chronically active uveitis. Permanent therapy is not imperative in every case.

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