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Semin Ophthalmol. 2005 Jul-Sep;20(3):183-90.

Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada disease.

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Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02114, USA.


Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada disease (VKH) is a multisystem autoimmune disorder principally affecting pigmented tissues in the ocular, auditory, integumentary and central nervous systems. Patients are typically 20 to 50 years old and have no history of either surgical or accidental ocular trauma. Pigmented races are more commonly affected. Depending on revised diagnostic criteria, the disease is classified as complete, incomplete or probable based on the presence of extraocular findings (neurological, auditory and integumentary). The clinical course of VKH is divided into four phases: prodromal (mimics a viral infection), uveitic (bilateral diffuse uveitis with papillitis and exudative retinal detachment), convalescent (tissue depigmentation), and chronic recurrent (recurrent uveitis and ocular complications). The pathogenesis of VKH is thought to be related to an aberrant T cell-mediated immune response directed against self-antigens found on melanocytes. VKH has been linked to human leukocyte antigen DR4 (HLA-DR4) and HLA-Dw53, with strongest associated risk for HLA-DRB1*0405 haplotype. The diagnosis of VKH is clinical, and differential includes sympathetic ophthalmia, sarcoidosis, primary intraocular B-cell lymphoma, posterior scleritis, and uveal effusion syndrome. Treatment is typically initiated with high-dose oral corticosteroids, but other immunomondulatory agents (most oftentimes cyclosporine) may be needed for non-responsive patients or when corticosteroid side-effects are not tolerated. Visual prognosis is generally good with prompt diagnosis and aggressive immunomodulatory treatment.

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