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Semin Arthritis Rheum. 2001 Feb;30(4):217-41.

Ophthalmologic manifestations of rheumatic diseases.

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Department of Medicine, University of California, Irvine, Medical Center, Orange, CA, USA.



Detailed review of the manifestations of eye involvement in the context of rheumatic diseases.


An OVID Medline search of the rheumatology and ophthalmology English literature related to the eye manifestations of human rheumatic diseases from 1966 to the present was conducted by the authors.


Analysis of 300 recent and consecutive rheumatology consultations from a large Veterans Administration Healthcare System shows that 4% are referred for eye manifestations of suspected rheumatic diseases, most commonly, anterior uveitis and keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS). Ocular involvement is common in the rheumatic diseases but varies among the different disorders. A literature review indicated that the most common ocular manifestations of rheumatic diseases include keratoconjunctivitis sicca, anterior uveitis, and scleritis. The most serious eye complications of the inherited connective tissue disorders are lens involvement with cataract formation or subluxation. The most significant side effects of the drugs used to treat rheumatic diseases are the maculopathy associated with anti-malarial agents and cataracts and glaucoma associated with corticosteroid use. Although many of the eye manifestations are easily recognizable, consultation with an ophthalmologist is usually necessary for optimal treatment and prevention of complications.


The rheumatologist, in coordination with the ophthalmologist, can play a major role in detecting and managing the eye involvement in his patients to save this important sense. Understanding the varied manifestations of eye disease will permit the rheumatologist to better evaluate the activity of the rheumatic disease.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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